Junk-Mail Relief — Bad for Business

Photograph by Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

A U.S. Postal Service (USPS) employee pushes a cart full of mail from a postal delivery truck in New York on Nov. 15, 2012.

This isn’t the kind of help the U.S. Postal Service had in mind when it asked Congress to pass a bill affecting it before adjourning for the year.

The House, which hasn’t acted on a broad postal reform bill proposed almost a year ago, today ended a requirement that financial institutions send customers a privacy notice each year — via U.S. Mail — unless they have changed privacy policies.

“Not only will this legislation end the redundant mailings, but it also will make it more likely that people will pay closer attention to important mailings they receive from their financial institutions because they are receiving fewer,” the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, a Missouri Republican, said.

One postman’s redundant mailings are another’s lifeline, if you happen to work for the Postal Service.

First-class mail is the service’s most profitable kind and also the type that’s been hit hardest by the movement toward e-mail and e-billing by, among others, banks. Still, banks belong to advocacy groups trying to save the Postal Service from the precipice of insolvency.

Luetkemeyer, in a statement last year, called on the service to “adapt to meet the challenges of the future” while also chiding them not to cut service to his rural Missouri constituents.


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