Postal savings system

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Postal savings systems provide depositors who do not have access to banks a safe and convenient method to save money. Many nations have operated banking systems involving post offices to promote saving money among the poor.

The unbanked are adults who do not have their own bank accounts. Along with the underbanked, they may rely on alternative financial services for their financial needs, where these are available.

A post office is a public department that provides a customer service to the public and handles their mail needs. Post offices offer mail-related services such as acceptance of letters and parcels; provision of post office boxes; and sale of postage stamps, packaging, and stationery. In addition, many post offices offer additional services: providing and accepting government forms, processing government services and fees, and banking services. The chief administrator of a post office is called a postmaster.



This 1869 deposit book would be carried by the customer, and is a typical record of a British Post Office Savings Bank savings account. Inside a Post Office Savings Bank deposit book.jpg
This 1869 deposit book would be carried by the customer, and is a typical record of a British Post Office Savings Bank savings account.

In 1861, Great Britain became the first nation to offer such an arrangement. It was supported by Sir Rowland Hill, who successfully advocated the penny post, and William Ewart Gladstone, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, who saw it as a cheap way to finance the public debt. At the time, banks were mainly in the cities and largely catered to wealthy customers. Rural citizens and the poor had no choice but to keep their funds at home or on their persons.

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom (UK), officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea lies between Great Britain and Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi), the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world. It is also the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

William Ewart Gladstone British Liberal politician and prime minister of the United Kingdom

William Ewart Gladstone was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician. In a career lasting over 60 years, he served for 12 years as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, spread over four terms beginning in 1868 and ending in 1894. He also served as Chancellor of the Exchequer four times.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Senior official in the Cabinet of the United Kingdom responsible for economic and financial matters

The Chancellor and Under-Treasurer of Her Majesty's Exchequer, commonly known as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or simply the Chancellor, is a senior official within the Government of the United Kingdom and head of Her Majesty's Treasury. The office is a British Cabinet-level position.

The original Post Office Savings Bank was limited to deposits of £30 per year with a maximum balance of £150. Interest was paid at the rate of 2.5 percent per annum on whole pounds in the account. Later, the limits were raised to a maximum of £500 per year in deposits with no limit on the total amount. Within five years of the system's establishment, there were over 600,000 accounts and £8.2 million on deposit. By 1927, there were twelve million accountsone in four Britonswith £283 million (£16,593 million today) on deposit. [1]

The British system first offered only savings accounts. In 1880, it also became a retail outlet for government bonds, and in 1916 introduced war savings certificates, which were renamed National Savings Certificates in 1920. [2] In 1956, it launched a lottery bond, the Premium Bond, which became its most popular savings certificate. [2] Post Office Savings Bank became National Savings Bank in 1969, later renamed National Savings and Investments (NS&I), an agency of HM Treasury. While continuing to offer National Savings services, the (then) General Post Office, created the National Giro in 1968 (privatized as Girobank and acquired by Alliance & Leicester in 1989).

Savings account type of account maintained by retail financial institutions

A savings account is a deposit account held at a retail bank that pays interest but cannot be used directly as money in the narrow sense of a medium of exchange. These accounts let customers set aside a portion of their liquid assets while earning a monetary return.

Government bond bond issued by a national government

A government bond or sovereign bond is a bond issued by a national government, generally with a promise to pay periodic interest payments called coupon payments and to repay the face value on the maturity date. The aim of a government bond is to support government spending. Government bonds are usually denominated in the country's own currency, in which case the government cannot be forced to default, although it may choose to do so. If a government is close to default on its debt the media often refer to this as a sovereign debt crisis.

War bond debt security issued by a government to finance military operations and other expenditure in times of war

War bonds are debt securities issued by a government to finance military operations and other expenditure in times of war. In practice, modern governments finance war by putting additional money into circulation, and the function of the bonds is to remove money from circulation and help to control inflation. War bonds are either retail bonds marketed directly to the public or wholesale bonds traded on a stock market. Exhortations to buy war bonds are often accompanied by appeals to patriotism and conscience. Retail war bonds, like other retail bonds, tend to have a yield which is below that offered by the market and are often made available in a wide range of denominations to make them affordable for all citizens.

Many other countries adopted such systems soon afterwards. Japan established a postal savings system in 1875 and the Netherlands government started a systems in 1881 under the name Rijkspostspaarbank (national postal savings bank), this was followed by many other countries over the next 50 years. The later part of the 20th century saw a reversal where these systems were abolished or privatized.

By country


The Austrian Postal Savings Bank (P.S.K.) in Vienna Wien - Osterreichische Postsparkasse, Georg-Coch-Platz.JPG
The Austrian Postal Savings Bank (P.S.K.) in Vienna

In Austria, the Österreichische Post used to own the Österreichische Postsparkasse (P.S.K.). This financial institute was bought and merged by the BAWAG in 2005.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, formal name: the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is landlocked and highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.

Österreichische Postsparkasse

Österreichische Postsparkasse (P.S.K.) was a postal savings bank in Austria. It was owned by the Austrian Mail and thus by the government. It merged on 1 October 2005, with the BAWAG to form BAWAG P.S.K..


BAWAG was a bank in Austria founded in 1922. On October 1, 2005, it merged with the separate Österreichische Postsparkasse (P.S.K.) to form the "Bank für Arbeit und Wirtschaft und Österreichische Postsparkasse AG", shortened as BAWAG P.S.K.. In October 2017, BAWAG Group AG, the holding company of BAWAG P.S.K., became a listed company on the Vienna Stock Exchange. Largest shareholders are Cerberus Capital Management (35.1%), GoldenTree Asset Management (25.7%) and Harbor International Fund (4.2%).


Brazil instituted a postal banking system in 2002, where the national postal service (ECT) formed a partnership with the largest private bank in the country (Bradesco) to provide financial services at post offices. The current partnership is with Bank of Brazil.

Brazil Federal republic in South America

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.


Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telégrafos, abbreviated as ECT, also known as Correios, is a state-owned company that operates the national postal service of Brazil since the seventeenth century.

Banco Bradesco banking and financial services company in Brazil

Bradesco is one of the biggest banking and financial services companies in Brazil. Bradesco was the largest private bank in Brazil until Banco Itaú and Unibanco merged in 2009. Bradesco is headquartered in the city of Osasco, in the metropolitan area of São Paulo, at Companhia Cidade de Deus, and has 5,314 branches, 4,834 Service Branches and 38,430 “Bradesco Expresso” Units, the correspondent bank through partnerships with supermarkets, drugstores, department stores and other retail chains. It is currently the third largest Brazilian bank by total assets. The bank is the world’s thirtysecond largest in market capitalization in 2014.


In Bulgaria, the postal banking system was a subsidiary of Bulgarian Posts until 1991, when Bulgarian Postbank was created. In the years that followed, Bulgarian Postbank was privatized and the relationship between post offices and bank offices became weaker. Postal banking services ceased to be available in post offices in 2011.


Canada Post offered banking services via its Post Office Savings Bank, created by the Post Office Act in April 1868, less than a year following the nation's confederation. A century later, the Post Office Savings Bank was shut down in 1968-69. [3] Since at least the early 2010s, postal banking has been discussed and studied periodically, with postal unions backing the idea. [4] [5]


Post office in Shanghai offering postal savings services China Post office in Shanghai.JPG
Post office in Shanghai offering postal savings services

In the People's Republic of China, the Postal Savings Bank of China (zh:中国邮政储蓄银行) was split from China Post in 2007 and established as a state-owned limited company. It continues to provide banking services at post offices.


In Finland, Postisäästöpankki ("Post Savings Bank") was founded in 1887. In 1970 its name was shortened to Postipankki ("Post Bank"). In 1998 it was changed to a commercial bank named Leonia Bank. Later, it was merged with an insurance company to form Sampo Group, and the bank was renamed Sampo Bank. It had a few own offices, but also post offices performed its banking operations until 2000. In 2007, Sampo Bank was sold to the Danish Danske Bank.


France's La Poste, similar to the UK's Post Office, offer banking services called "La Banque Postale".


Deutsche Postbank has a postal banking system. Deutsche Postbank was a subsidiary of Deutsche Post until 2008, when 30% of Deutsche Post's shares were sold to Deutsche Bank. [6] Postal banking services are still available at all branches of Deutsche Post and Deutsche Postbank.


Greek Postal Savings Bank provided banking services from post offices until 2013 when it was replaced by New TT Hellenic Postbank a subsidiary of Eurobank Group.


In 1919 the Postal Savings Bank notes were issued under the decree of the Revolutionary Governing Council of the Hungarian Soviet Republic by the Magyar Postatakarékpénztár (Hungarian Postal Savings Bank).


India post, operated by Government of India, under Indian Postal services providing small savings banking and financial services, including National Savings Certificates.


Postal savings in Indonesia began with the establishment of the Netherlands Indian Post Office Savings Bank (Dutch : Postspaarbank) in 1897. During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, it was replaced by the Savings Office(Japanese:貯金局, Hepburn:Chokin-kyoku, Nihon-shiki: Tyokin-kyoku) and savings were encouraged by the military administration to support the Greater East Asia War. The Savings Office became the Post Office Savings Bank again (Indonesian : Bank Tabungan Pos) after independence, before renamed into the current State Savings Bank, or Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN) in 1963. Between 1963 and 1968, it became the Fifth Unit of Bank Negara Indonesia during the single-bank system, made to support the guided democracy.

Currently, BTN offers a savings plan that allows its users to deposit in post offices.


In Italy, the Postal savings system is run by Poste italiane, the Italian postal service company. Poste italiane run this service along with Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.


In Ireland, An Post ran Postbank between 2006 and its closure in 2010, that was a joint venture with Fortis Bank Belgium.


Israel's postal service Israel Postal Company offers utility payment, savings and checking accounts, as well as foreign currency exchange services from all post offices. [7]


Japan Post Bank, part of the post office was the world's largest savings bank with 198 trillion yen (US$1.7 trillion) of deposits as of 2006, [8] much from conservative, risk-averse citizens. The government was criticized for using these funds to engage in uneconomical infrastructure projectswhat in America would be called pork barrel spending. The state-owned Japan Post Bank business unit of Japan Post was formed in 2007, as part of a ten-year privatization programme, intended to achieve fully private ownership of the postal system by 2017. [9]


Kenya Post Office Savings Bank (KPOSB/Postbank) [10]


Korea Post, operated by South Korean government, has its postal banking and postal insurance business since 1982. Banking counter and ATM is available in all post office, excluding postal agencies and delivery centers. Korea Post ATM is connected with all national and regional banks via KFTC. Banking counter is also opened for Korea Development Bank, Industrial Bank, Citibank Korea, and Jeonbuk Bank customers.


In 1881 the Dutch government founded the Rijkspostspaarbank (National Postal Savings Bank). In 1986 it was privatised, together with the Postgiro service, as the Postbank N.V. Postbank merged with a commercial bank that would eventually become ING Bank.

New Zealand

Post Office Savings Bank was established in 1867 by the New Zealand government to give New Zealand investors a place to deposit their savings. [11] [12] This included the provision of children's savings accounts known as Post Office Squirrel savings account. The Post Office Savings bank was split into PostBank in 1987 and was acquired by a commercial bank two years later ending the bank.

In 2002 the New Zealand government created a new state owned post bank called Kiwibank as part of the New Zealand Post to again establish a postal savings system. [13]


Postbanken was founded in 1948 after major political battle as Norges Postsparebank, however the maximum amount allowed to be saved per person was set to NOK 10,000. In 1948 the bank had services provided at 3,600 post offices and post outlets. It was sold in 1999 and became part of the commercial bank DNB ASA.


The Philippine Postal Savings Bank (PPSB), also known as PostalBank, is the state-owned postal savings system in the Philippines. It is the smallest of the Philippines' three state-owned banks and is governed separately from PhilPost. In late 2017, state bank Land Bank of the Philippines acquired PPSB at zero value and made it as a subsidiary. It is now known as Overseas Filipino Bank.


In Portugal, the CTT own 100% of the Banco CTT, which has been operating since 2015 throughout Portugal.


POSB Bank of Singapore, stands for Post Office Savings Bank. Now part of DBS Bank (Development Bank of Singapore).

South Africa

Postbank (South Africa), operated by the South African Post Office (SAPO). Offers transactional, savings, investments, insurance & pension banking services. [14]

Sri Lanka

In Sri Lanka, National Savings Bank and Sri Lanka Post provide banking services through post offices.


In Taiwan, the Chunghwa Post provides savings accounts and Visa debit card services in the Free Area of the Republic of China.


Between 1 April 1929 to 31 March 1947, the Post and Telegraph Department of the Ministry of Commerce and Transportation of Thailand has run Saving Office before becoming Government Savings Bank (GSB) [15]


Lien Viet Post Joint Stock Commercial Bank or LienVietPostBank (LPB), formerly known as LienVietBank, is a Vietnamese retail bank that provides banking products and services through its own transaction points across 42 cities and provinces and 1,031 postal transaction offices nationwide. LienVietPostBank is considered to be in the top 10 biggest banks in terms of assets and equity [2] and ranked 36th in VNR500 -Top 500 largest private companies in Vietnam in 2013. The Bank is striving to become the bank for everyone in Vietnam by focusing on banking products for households and small and medium enterprises especially in the agriculture sector, and expanding its activities to rural and remote areas via the post.

United Kingdom

The Post Office Ltd offers savings accounts based on its brand, and is operated by the Bank of Ireland, a commercial bank, and Family Investments, a friendly society.

The Post Office branded services are similar to some of National Savings and Investments' services, and include instant savings, Individual Savings Accounts, seasonal savings and savings bonds. [16] [17] [18] [19] Post Office Ltd also provides a Post Office card account that accepts only direct deposits of certain state pension and welfare payments, permitting cash withdrawals over the counter. [20] This last account is offered in partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions until 2010, through investment banking and asset management company JP Morgan. (This contract has recently been awarded to JP Morgan to run till 2015)

United States

In the United States, the United States Postal Savings System was established in 1911 under the Act of June 25, 1910 (36  Stat.   814). It was discontinued by the Act of March 28, 1966 (80  Stat.   92).

See also

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Japan Post public corporation that offered postal service in Japan from 2003 to 2007

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Kiwibank company

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Danske Bank bank headquartered in Denmark

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Deutsche Bundespost the state postal company in the Federal Republic of Germany

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Postbank or Post bank may refer to any of the postal savings systems in these countries (alphabetically):

The main elements of Japan's financial system are much the same as those of other major industrialized nations: a commercial banking system, which accepts deposits, extends loans to businesses, and deals in foreign exchange; specialized government-owned financial institutions, which fund various sectors of the domestic economy; securities companies, which provide brokerage services, underwrite corporate and government securities, and deal in securities markets; capital markets, which offer the means to finance public and private debt and to sell residual corporate ownership; and money markets, which offer banks a source of liquidity and provide the Bank of Japan with a tool to implement monetary policy.

The Postbank was a large Dutch bank, which went on to become part of ING Group. It had 7.5 million private account holders and was one of the largest providers of financial services in the country. It provided current and savings accounts, loans, mortgages, insurance, investments and pensions. As opposed to other banks, it had no branches but operated completely through land mail, telephone and online banking, although some operations have traditionally been available through post offices.

PostBank New Zealand bank

PostBank, was a bank owned by the New Zealand Government as the government's postal savings system. The origins of the bank were established in 1867; it became PostBank in 1987 and was disestablished and the branches were rebranded when it was acquired by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group in 1989.

Retail banking, also known as consumer banking, is the provision of services by a bank to the general public, rather than to companies, corporations or other banks, which are often described as wholesale banking. Banking services which are regarded as retail include provision of savings and transactional accounts, mortgages, personal loans, debit cards, and credit cards. Retail banking is also distinguished from investment banking or commercial banking. It may also refer to a division or department of a bank which deals with individual customers.

La Poste (France) SA founded in 2010 to replace La Poste (France)

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Bulgarian Postbank Bulgarian bank

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LienVietPostBank is a Vietnamese retail bank based in Hanoi.

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BancoPosta is a unit of the Italian Post Office that provides financial services, including savings, prepaid cards, exchange brokerage services, investment services, insurance, and various payment services. BancoPosta does not have a banking license and cannot directly provide loans to third parties, but is involved in the promotion and placement of public loans granted by banks and financial intermediaries. The bank services are available at all post offices in Italy.


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  2. 1 2 "Business history records: Post Office Savings Bank". British Postal Museum & Archive.
  3. Willis, John. " - A Chronology of Canadian Postal History". Canadian Museum of History. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  4. "Canada Postal Banks "Win-Win", Secret Records Show | Blacklock's Reporter". Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  5. "Can building a bank save Canada Post?". Global News. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  6. Seib, Christine (13 September 2008). "Deutsche Bank makes £2.2bn U-turn to buy stake in Postbank". The Times . Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  7. "Israel Postal Company - חברת דואר ישראל". Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  8. "Japan Bank Lobby's New Chief Wants Brokerage Barriers Lifted". . 2007-04-24.
  9. Griemel, Hans (2007-03-31). "Privatization of Japan's postal colossus sparks competition fears". Taipei Times . Tokyo. Associated Press. p. 9.
  10. "..:: Welcome to Kenya Post Office Savings Bank :: At Your Service Countrywide in | Nairobi | Mt Kenya | Riftvalley | Coast | Western | ::." Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  11. "ANZ Corporate Information: History of ANZ". ANZ. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  12. "THE POST OFFICE SAVINGS BANK". 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. 1966. Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  13. Stock, Rob (c. 2008). "About Kiwibank". Kiwibank, external information. Kiwibank. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  15. ๒๔๗๒ – ๒๔๘๙ คลังออมสินสู่ไปรษณีย์โทรเลข (in Thai). ธนาคารออมสิน. Retrieved 2 April 2016.
  16. "Growth Bonds". Post Office Ltd . Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  17. "Christmas Club". Post Office Ltd . Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  18. "Post Office ISA". Post Office Ltd . Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  19. "Instant Saver". Post Office Ltd . Retrieved 2008-10-22.
  20. "Post Office card account". Post Office Ltd . Retrieved 2008-10-22.

Further reading