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Mandelson backs new Post Office ‘banks’

By Alan Jones

Published 03/12/2009

The Government has promoted new financial products and services which could be offered by the Post Office, including business accounts and children’s savings.

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said growing financial services would help secure the future of the postal network, which has suffered a wave of closures in recent years.

A public consultation was launched on the type of products that could be offered, including: Business Bank Account; Post Office Current Account, accessible from any of the 11,500 branches across the UK; Children’s Savings Account, designed to encourage children to save through their local post office; and Weekly Budgeting Account, offering a simple account to low-income households so bills could be paid by direct debit every month or quarter.

John Wright, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said the announcement was a “promising step”.

“However, it lacks real strategy. If the Post Office is truly going to deliver on these services, the banking model these will be delivered through needs to change,” he said.

“The federation has long been calling for a Post Bank — a state-run bank or mutual or trustee bank run through the post office network.

“FSB research shows that 38% of members would definitely bank with a Post Bank because they are currently not getting what they need from the Post Office or high street banks.

“If the post office network is to give small firms the service they need, the Government must commit to creating a Post Bank.”

The Post Office already offers a range of financial services and has announced plans to launch a current account next year.

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