Toward the end of the 19th century, postal services began to contribute to the development of a savings culture in many of today’s industrialized countries. And they are playing a similar role in developing and emerging countries at the dawn of the 21st century.
A number of postal banks meet several of the key elements needed to effectively mobilize poor people’s savings: proximity, trust, simplicity, broad network, affordable services, and state-of-the-art communication technologies. And very important, postal banks in developing and emerging countries have significant scale. Thanks to a network of more than half a million post offices throughout the world, trusted postal financial institutions have around half a billion deposit or savings account holders – in many cases, people who were previously excluded from formal banking services. There are 1.5 billion users of some sort of postal financial services – payments, remittances – and the potential to open a further billion accounts.