Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed expanding post office offerings to include banking as a way to bring more basic services to low-income neighborhoods.

According to a YouGov/Huffington Post poll this month, the idea has wide public support, with 44 percent of those surveyed favoring the United States Postal Service offering basic financial services. This would include bill paying, check cashing and small loans. Thirty-seven percent were opposed to the proposal, and 19 percent said they weren’t sure.

A recent report by the USPS’ Office of the Inspector General found that more than a quarter of U.S. households have no checking or savings accounts. The average underserved household spends 10 percent of its annual income on interest and fees, the inspector general noted.

The notion of expanding lower-cost banking services has been put forth before by former Treasury official Michael Barr and former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, but this time the public seems to support such efforts. Read more about the survey here and Warren’s ideas and reasoning here.

—Posted by Donald Kaufman

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