When the United States Postal Service launched a test program in September allowing people with business or payroll checks to get them loaded onto gift cards at four neighborhood post offices, it was seen as a primitive precursor to a postal banking system. But in order for the test to be successful and mature into a pilot, it has to actually be, well, tested.
According to postal employees at Baychester Station in the Bronx, one of four locations nationwide where the test is being carried out, not a single business or payroll check transaction was made between September 13, when the test launched, and October 31. Some union leaders who support the postal banking concept have become frustrated by the selection of Baychester, and the lack of muscle for the project from the USPS.
“If you were to pick a place where [the test] was least likely to function, Baychester would be one of the top places,” said Chuck Zlatkin, legislative director for the New York Metro Area Postal Union. “I did say to someone, ‘What—are you going to wait until a mystery shopper comes to find out where the thing works?’”