Can Post Offices Increase Access to Financial Services?

A Geographic Investigation of Financial Services Availability
Policy Paper
Feb. 1, 2017

Postal Banking through the U.S. Postal Service has been recommended as one option for improving the availability of safe and affordable financial products and services in lower-income and minority communities. Advocates of postal banking suggest that post offices have maintained their presence in communities vacated by banks and credit unions and inundated by alternative financial service (AFS) providers. However, there have been few attempts to analyze data in order to test this assumption. Using financial services and community demographic data for 31,489 zip codes across the U.S., we compared the concentrations or densities of bank and credit union branches, AFS, and post offices.