Photo Caption: Last bank in Kilwinning, Scotland closed June 11th, 2018 despite local support for it to remain open. Photo by Ian Rainey.

Apr 11, 2019.

Like the US economy, the UK economy is grappling with rapidly accelerating inequality and a collapse in investment in the main street economy as the financial sector dominates. In response, the Labour Party has issued a major new report proposing a “new public banking ecosystem” that includes postal banks.

Christine Berry, one of the report’s authors, describes the proposal in The Independent:

“The first pillar of this ecosystem is the proposed National Investment Bank, supported by a network of 12 Regional Development Banks. … We recommend that the bank’s activities should initially be focused around three “missions”: greening the economy, regional rebalancing and economic democracy. Together, these missions address the real crises of our time … : an economy skewed towards unaccountable elites that is failing to provide good lives for most of its citizens, and the real and present dangers posed by climate change.

Berry continues:

“While big banks continue to fleece their customers and exclude the most vulnerable, the Post Bank would have a mandate to provide universal access to affordable banking services. While big banks abandon the high street, the Post Bank would be present in every community through the Post Office branch network. And while big banks focus on high value business in London and the international markets, the Post Bank would be structured into regional subdivisions with their own governance and a remit to support the regional economy.

“Taken together, these proposals would transform the UK banking landscape and end our dependence on a private oligopoly that has proved itself criminally irresponsible time and time again. Working alongside exciting new initiatives to rejuvenate the UK’s cooperative banking sector, they would give people a real alternative to rip-off banking and put finance back in its place as a servant of the real economy. If we really want to take control of our economy and our politics, it’s high time we took control of our banking system.

[Read the full article]