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It's time for a postal banking reboot

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Free market evangelists complain about the lack of competition in the postal service, but they also want to prevent Canada Post from competing in an industry that desperately needs more competition: banking.

Canada's five biggest banks earned $8 billion in profits in the second quarter, while raising fees for customers. In their defense, they really like money. But now that the federal government is doing a review of Canada Post, postal banking is on the table as a potential new service it could offer.

It's not a radical idea. You could have a bank account at the post office until 1968, several industrialized countries have it, and a Canada Post study concluded it "could profitably launch the largest banking network in the country." But that study was buried by the same Conservative ideologues who appointed this guy CEO of Canada Post, who makes half a million dollars a year. (see video clip here)

That clip makes me want postal banking just out of spite. But there are even better reasons. Lots of poor, rural and Indigenous people don't have access to financial services and are forced to go to places like Money Mart, whose business model is a short step away from the mafia.

Postal banking could help solve this and several other problems at once. But whether it happens will depend on whose bank accounts the Liberals are most concerned about.

This video originally appeared on The Toronto Star.

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