Our Position

Postal Banking and Federal Reserve Accounts


  • ICBA opposes the formation of new public banks or other types of public retail financial service providers, whether they are owned by states, municipalities, the United States Postal Service (USPS), or any other federal or quasi-federal instrumentality.
  • ICBA opposition extends to the creation of special purpose banks to service the cannabis industry or a National Infrastructure Bank.
  • Such banks would directly compete with community banks, diverting deposits from local communities and create undue taxpayer risk. Financial services are best provided in a competitive, private, and free marketplace that openly and efficiently benefits customers.
  • Community banks and other financial institutions continue to offer low-cost financial services to underserved communities to help them break from the debt cycle of payday lenders.


Postal Banking. There has been a resurgence in interest among certain lawmakers in allowing the United States Postal Service (USPS) to offer retail banking services. In 2021, the USPS quietly launched an ICBA-opposed pilot to offer check cashing, bill paying, ATM access, and expanded money orders and wire transfers in Washington, DC; Falls Church, VA; Baltimore, MD; and the Bronx, NY. USPS reported that, across all locations, just six checks were cashed for a total value of $548.46, resulting in just over $35 in revenue for the cash-strapped USPS.

It would be a serious mistake for the USPS to enter a highly competitive, complex new industry with the potential to ruin itself and its core function and put American taxpayers at further risk. Effective banking management requires years if not decades to master.

FedAccounts. Proponents would make “FedAccounts” available to all citizens, residents, and nonfinancial businesses at taxpayers’ expense. These accounts would offer the same services as commercial bank accounts including the issuance of debit cards, ATM access, direct deposit and online bill pay services. They would also support internet and mobile banking.

These features put FedAccounts in direct competition with checking and savings accounts offered by community banks. Moreover, the possibility that such accounts could be used by the government to track an individual’s financial transactions creates serious privacy concerns.

The Fed has repeatedly said it is not suited to offer direct accounts to consumers and is not legally permitted to do so. For instance, proposals for no-fee FedAccounts would not provide for adequate cost recovery as required by the Monetary Control Act.

Staff Contacts

Aaron Stetter

EVP, Affiliate and Volunteer Relations


[email protected]

Christopher Cole

EVP, Senior Regulatory Counsel


[email protected]

Postal Banking White Paper 2021

Postal Banking - A Flawed Proposal in Pursuit of a Worthy Goal - Part 1

Part one in a three part series, this installment outlines how the pursuit of postal banking would harm the already stressed primary function of the United States Postal Service, mail delivery.
Postal White Paper Summary

Postal Banking - A Flawed Proposal in Pursuit of a Worthy Goal - Part 2

Part two in a three part series, we argue that USPS simply does not possess the know-how to succeed at banking, that legislative mandates would undermine revenues, and that the agency would likely fail at the twin objectives of postal banking.
POSTAL BANKING A Flawed Proposal in Pursuit of a Worthy Goal—A Series

Postal Banking - A Flawed Proposal in Pursuit of a Worthy Goal - Part 3

Community bankers are committed to serving their communities, including unbanked populations. A community cannot thrive without inclusive access to the banking system. This concern is too important to entrust to an untested proposal.

Postal commission indicates banking pilot violated law

Feb. 02, 2022

The Postal Regulatory Commission is pressing the U.S. Postal Service on why it didn’t seek the commission’s approval before launching an ICBA-opposed postal banking pilot program last year.

Legal Questions: In a series of questions to the USPS last week, the PRC cited federal law requiring the USPS to get the commission’s approval for any “market test” for an experimental product. The PRC—which previously said it did not review or approve the pilot—noted the USPS itself referred to the pilot as a “time-limited test.”

Pilot Outlook: The PRC also asked the USPS how it plans to proceed with the banking pilot given it has attracted only six customers, whether the USPS plans to continue or expand the pilot, and whether it promoted the program at its four participating locations.

Low Demand: The Postal Service previously reported to the PRC that the pilot resulted in just six sales between Sept. 13 and Jan. 12 that have provided a total value of $548.46 in gift cards and brought in $35.70 in fees to USPS.

Background: The program offers check cashing, bill paying, ATM access, and expanded money orders and wire transfers at locations in Washington, D.C.; Falls Church, Va.; Baltimore; and the Bronx, N.Y. Customers may cash payroll or business checks to buy single-use gift cards worth up to $500 for a $5.95 fee.

ICBA Position: ICBA—which has spoken out against the pilot via NBC News, The Washington Post, and the Washington Examiner—strongly opposes postal banking. A three-part series of ICBA issue briefs delivered to policymakers last year explores the policy’s flaws and offers alternatives for reaching the unbanked.