With the United States Postal Service facing approximately $3 billion in cuts, postal credit unions are devising plans in order to accommodate their members’ future needs.
Postal employees are confronting facility closings, 35,000 lost jobs and the possibility of phasing out Saturday service, which may place a strain on many on-site credit unions.
According to Deb McLean, VP/Marketing and Business Development for Carolina Postal Credit Union ($80 million, Charlotte, NC) postal credit unions have known about the impending changes for last few years, with many already making adjustments to accommodate members.
“We knew changes were going to occur a few years ago so we decided to stay true to the postal base and open our field of membership to other companies involved within the postal industry.”
McLean explains that instead of only serving members who work for USPS, Carolina Postal marketed membership to companies that create and provide direct mail services and presorting companies.
“We also reached out to our state-based postal customer counsel (PCC) to join our credit union,” she says.
The PCC is a non-profit liaison-type group that exists in every state, providing tools and best practices information from USPS to companies. McLean has been involved with the group for some time and her involvement has provided her with access to other entities throughout the postal and mail house industry.
Because Carolina Postal Credit Union started these efforts a few years ago, McLean says that her credit union is in a better position to ride out the transition.
“I’ve talked with other postal credit unions and the possible changes are a concern for everyone. However, there are several strategies postal credit unions can deploy in order to stay viable and accessible to not only it’s current membership base but to expand beyond the USPS select employee group.”
Postal Credit Unions Evolve With Service Updates
McLean says that she doesn’t think there is any reason why postal credit unions need to completely evaporate due to USPS changes.
“There are plenty of options for postal credit unions, even for the on-site locations housed in facilities that may close.”
She explains that the on-site facilities can either secure an off-site location to provide continuous service to its membership base or merge with another community credit union. “While a merger would most likely mean that the postal credit union’s name will change, members will still have access to their credit union, along with the same benefits.”
She says that other credit unions, like Carolina Postal could expand its field of membership. “Some postal credit unions have already revised their charter to become a community credit union, but that may have been driven by other factors and not entirely on what is going on with the US postal service.”
Postal Credit Union Members Can Help The Efforts
McLean says that she was fortunate when it came time to talk to her board about expanding Carolina Postal Credit Union’s field of membership. “Our board agreed that changes were going to occur and that we should move forward to accommodate our members based on how the postal service was evolving.”
However, she notes that not all credit unions have quite gotten on board. “I have spoken with other postal credit unions and some of these credit unions are dealing with a board that refuses to face the new reality. This is very frustrating for these credit unions because they are concerned about the future, yet are not being heard by their board.”
As USPS ramps up efforts to slash costs and reduce locations, members should become vocal and involved in their credit union’s future. “Members should go to their boards and ask what they plan to do,” McLean says. “Members should also inquire directly about what the board plans to do should their facility be closed.”
She urges every member to attend their credit union’s annual meeting and try to learn more about how their credit union will evolve during possible postal service changes.