Having visited numerous post offices in developing and emerging countries, it is often striking to notice the space left available and not utilized in front of their counters. This is just one more sign of what is the most underutilized asset of the Posts – their network – as recently highlighted by the UPU POC Chairman – Dr. Andreas Taprantzis – during our UPU-AFI workshop on financial inclusion and postal banking.
During the same event, Christian Sinobas from PlaNet Finance was rightly pointing out that while improving geographical access can be secured with impressive results through the use of agents (or correspondent banking), nothing was guaranteeing that people living 50 meters away from a post office – acting as a bank agent or itself as a postal bank branch – where an offer of basic financial services is available will indeed use these services. Financial literacy may appear as a significant barrier to effectively take advantage of an improved geographical access.
If one thinks in a creative way, one can easily understand that a physically under-utilized post office space can not only provide a counter for financial services, but also become a permanent library to promote financial literacy. Posts have already proven their effectiveness in campaigning against AIDS in their offices, or delivering school books on time for millions of Brazilian students every year. So why couldn’t Posts use an area in each of their offices for increasing people’s financial readiness? What other network can propose 500,000* libraries reaching the poorest segments of the world’s population?
What do you think? Leave your comment below.
* Number of post offices in developing and emerging countries
Recent initiative: Pacific Islands – Building Financial Literacy in the New Year