Post Bank, the proposed service that would offer a wider range of financial services through the Post Office network, could be a timely move, according to branding experts.
A coalition of business leaders, politicians and unions yesterday (Tuesday) launched a campaign to set up what Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, calls a “people’s bank”, a government-backed service to provide more financial services to people and businesses not currently served by the major high street banks.
Gregory Handrick, associate partner at marketing consultancy Prophet, says that a year ago the plans would have been questioned but the lack of trust in banks that has built up means there is now a “vacuum” for a financial services brand that “delivers the basics”.
Handrick says Post Banks can offer a “local, physical and accessible service” and adds that a state-run financial services institution could appeal to the growing mistrust people have in capitalism as long as the venture differentiates itself from the other state-run banks and improves its branch service.
However, Roy Stephenson, financial services consultant at Strategic Planning and Marketing, says although there is affection for the local post office it is debatable that this affection will translate to financial services and mutuals can also offer a “trustworthy” alternative to high-street banks.
The Post Banks coalition claims the plans will boost the post office network and pro”universal banking obligation” to guarantee all people have access to accounts.
The Post Office already offers a range of financial services including savings, insurance and personal loans backed by the Bank of Ireland but under the plans the Government would back products.