Toomey: Postal Banking ‘A Very Bad Idea’; GSE Reform on Agenda for 117th Congress

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) today shared his candid thoughts on postal banking during the American Bankers Association’s virtual Washington Summit. “It’s a very bad idea,” he said, when asked about legislation that would enable the Federal Reserve to offer banking accounts and services in coordination with the U.S. Postal Service.

“I would have to work very hard for a long time to come up with a worse idea than having the government become a national bank executed through the post office,” said the two-term senator and ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, quickly adding that he wasn’t disparaging the Postal Service or its workers. “They have a tough job to do. But even if they were the most competent, professional and best-run organization on the planet, I would not have them in the banking business. We have banks. The idea that the government is going to do a better job is just laughable.”

Toomey said that technology and innovation is moving the financial industry in the direction of making banking products more affordable and accessible, noting that “we all want to find ways to provide access to the banking system to people who are not banked, but government isn’t the answer. If this gets any kind of traction at all, I will be fighting this very aggressively.”

As the second day of the Summit drew to a close, Toomey also told participants that though he may not control his committee’s agenda, he still has important goals for this session of Congress. At the top of the list: GSE reform.

“I have made it clear that GSE reform should be an important priority for the committee and the country. It’s the great unfinished work of the financial crisis, which was well over a decade ago and we still have done nothing whatsoever about the GSEs. I think we very badly need to finish the job of reforming that duopoly,” Toomey said.

Another priority is to reduce banking regulation. “We overregulate the banking sector,” he said. “I think we have far too prescriptive regulations in many areas, and I would like to see us push back on that.”

Other items on Toomey’s to-do list include making it easier for companies to raise capital, publicly and privately; making it less onerous and expensive to be a publicly traded company; and giving retail investors more and varied investment opportunities.