Fears and rumours about the demise of the rural Post Office in Irish society have been rumbling on for several years now and some have already fallen to the axe of one minister or another.
Meanwhile, a little heard of ‘Private Members Bill’ in Dáil Éireann last November proposed that a new An Post / Banking Service, which could operate throughout the country, would be the savior of both An Post and its Post offices.
Working Well in New Zealand
The model brought by this motion is, apparently, working extremely well in New Zealand and closer to home in Germany.
The greed of big banks is beginning to feed on itself as communities and strong leadership back the community based models which, above all, keep profits in the community and support both families and small businesses.
With banks in small towns throughout Ireland really upsetting long standing customers by withdrawing traditional, face-to-face services like over the counter cash transactions, now would seem to be the ideal time to, at least consider what the Dáil deputies proposed in that motion.
Tom O’Callaghan from Limerick describes himself at an Independent Postmaster. He sent what looks like the first call of a campaign backing the motion and he sets out his stall here:
The Future of Rural Post Offices and An Post
500 to 700 Post Offices are in immediate danger of closure and An Post’s future is vulnerable.
There is light at the end of the tunnel if Government, An Post and the Postmasters are willing to embrace it.
The launch of An Post’s NEW ‘Smart Current Account’ is a significant development and could be the important first step in securing the future of the Post Offices and An Post.
Yes, An Post is now offering its own current accounts.
This development has the potential for so much more if progressed along the lines of the Kiwi Post Bank in New Zealand.
Established in 2002 Kiwi Post Bank now has over 12% of the overall banking market on the island of four million people.
This idea is has already gone before the Dáil. The motion was put on behalf of the Rural Independent Group by Mattie McGrath TD.
The Rural Independent Group includes: Mattie McGrath, Michael Healy-Rae, Michael Collins, Noel Grealish, Michael Harty, Danny Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry.
A Post Office Network: Private Members Motion on Wednesday, 16 November 2016
sought the implementation of a new community banking service operated by An Post to be made available in all post offices throughout the country.
This community bank should be based on either the New Zealand Kiwibank model or the German Sparkassen model, both of which have been found to be valid models.
Ellen Brown, President, Founder and Senior Advisor of the U.S. Public Banking Institute had the following to say in her article on the Kiwibank Model:
The Kiwibank Model: Postal Banks to Serve Local Communities – By Ellen Brown.
“Postal banks are now thriving in New Zealand, not as a historical artifact but as a popular new innovation. When they were instituted in 2002, it was not to save the post office but to save New Zealand families and small businesses from big-bank predators.
By 2001, Australian mega-banks controlled some 80% of New Zealand’s retail banking.
Profits went abroad and were maximized by closing less profitable branches, especially in rural areas.
The result was to place hardships on many New Zealand families and small businesses.
Suddenly, New Zealanders had a choice in banking.
In an early ‘move your money’ campaign, they voted with their feet. In an island nation of only four million people, in its first five years Kiwibank attracted 500,000 customers away from the big banks.
It consistently earns the nation’s highest customer satisfaction ratings, forcing the Australia-owned banks to improve their service in order to compete.” – Ms. Brown.
Probably the Last Chance – Tom O’Callaghan
The Kiwi Post / Bank type of option is probably the last chance to save the Post Offices and An Post.
The stamp / postal cost price rise is not sufficient to save them; the problem is much bigger.
We must consider that in Ireland the commercial banks have over 95% of the market.
In Germany the commercial banks including Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank AG have only 12% of the market.
Up to 70% of German Banking is provided by Community Banks, lending locally to the productive economy and not engaging in speculation or securitisation.
Community Banks in Germany have a 200 year history; they built and fund the fourth biggest economy in the world and have never needed any taxpayer’s money.
There is no reason why An Post and the Post Office network could not take its rightful share of the banking market in Ireland and secure their future.
Your local Post Office could become your local community bank. This information has been conveyed to all members of Dail Eireann and all Local Council / Political Representatives.
I, Tom O’Callaghan request Government to Urgently implement the Private Members Motion from November 16th 2016 unanimously passed by all members of the house and spare the widespread destruction of our existing Post Office network.
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