JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) has started preliminary talks with the U.S. Postal Service about installing ATMs in post office branches. The talks are still at preliminary stages, and no deal or commitments have been made.
“We had very preliminary conversations with the U.S. Postal Service several months ago about what it might look like to lease a small number of spaces to place ATMs to better serve some historically underserved communities,” said Trish Wexler, a spokeswoman for the bank.
JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S with $3.2 trillion of assets, is exploring the possibility of leading space from the postal service to install ATMs at its branches across the country. This is according to sources close to the matter. The sources also add that the proposal could give JPMorgan the “exclusive right” to solicit postal customers.
USPS is under increased scrutiny
The talks with the banks come when the postal service is facing increased scrutiny over measures that could impact the November election. There over 31,000 post office locations across the U.S, all managed by the USPS.
The USPS Post General Louis DeJoy recently made a raft of cost-cutting measures in the agency questioned by lawmakers. Lawmakers cited concerns over these measures introduced by DeJoy, a major trump supporter and donor to Republicans and committees that support Trump. He is expected to testify before Congress this week. Lawmakers expressed concerns that the changes could affect the operations of the agency at a time when many citizens are expected to vote by mail due to the impact of the COVID -19 pandemic.
Trump is a big critic of the vote-by-mail plan and has questioned continuously its ability to deliver a credible, free, and fair election. Trump has even threatened to defund the USPS, which is expected to oversee votes cast by mail.
Fears of privatization of USPS
The talks with JP Morgan have caused fears of possible privatization of the independent agency. These fears come from the fact that in addition to installing ATMs, the bank seeks exclusive rights to solicit postal customers.