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Laura

Girobank To Return Using Nr?!

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THE campaign for a Post Bank was stepped up today with calls for the Government-owned Northern Rock to be used as the basis for a new state-backed bank in post office branches.

A coalition of groups, including unions and businesses, published detailed proposals it said would give a big boost to the post office network and prevent further closures.

A Post Bank would "revive and protect" post offices, support local communties and help smaller firms, especially as the banking system was still in "disarray", it was argued.

The Government was presented with a number of options, ranging from using Northern Rock as a foundation to a mutually structured people's bank, to buying out the current relationship between the Post Office and Bank of Ireland.

"There is a now a huge opportunity to meet the demand for secure, government-backed banking while also securing the future of the Post Office and Northern Rock. The time is right for Post Bank," said the coalition.

Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union said: "We have met the challenge to create a workable model for the creation of a Post Bank. Our new report builds upon the conceptual idea and provides practical blueprints that will appeal to the general public who are disillusioned with the old, tired banking model.

"There's never been a better time to set up a Post Bank. In order to ensure a viable future for post offices across the UK we urge Lord

Mandelson (Business Secretary) to endorse this vote-winning initiative and to urgently take the necessary steps to introduce a Post Bank."

John Wright, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "Northern Rock presents the Government with a considerable opportunity. It should not consider selling it off privately, but instead, should use it to establish a Post Bank and invest in the long term future of the Post Office.

"Following the start of the economic slowdown last year, small businesses have experienced a sharp decline in access to finance and the Federation of Small Businesses estimates 120 small businesses are closing every day as a result of these tough conditions. The Government must choose between short-term profit and securing the long term future of financial services at the Post Office by establishing a trusted and non-profit making bank run through the post office network."

Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention said: "The Post Office is one of our greatest assets, but it needs a forward thinking government to grasp the opportunities that the banking crisis has created. A People's Bank at the post office would be popular with both the pubic and business, and today's report shows how this could be achieved.

"Ministers need to rise to the challenge and secure a future for the post office network that serves local communities rather than pander to those who want to run it down and sell it off."

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesman said: "The Post Office already provides a wide range of financial services including savings, insurance, mortgages, credit cards and over 1,400 free-to-use cash machines.

"We are keen for it expand its financial services and are actively exploring this with the Post Office.

"The Government has made its position on Northern Rock clear. It is in temporary public ownership and the intention is to return the bank to the private sector in the future.

"We have always maintained that any future sale would need to clearly demonstrate value for the taxpayer and maintain financial stability."

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Girobank was sold to The Alliance & Leicester in 1997, A&L converted to a bank in 2000 and are now owned by Santander.

If it is successful it will be sold, if it isn't it will be forgotten.

Edited by Lord D'arcy Pew

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Girobank was fun when it started as it had no overdraw facility.

. It was tested out on civil servants & I was (un)lucky enough to be one at the time.

So most of us in the office overdrew.

You then received a letter telling you to recredit your account as Girobank did not have an overdraw facility.

Free overdrafts, another Civil Service perk

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I used to work for them.

Like any organosation, it had its merits and its faults.

I find it ironic that it is the UCW promoting this idea. When Thatcher sold off Girobank for buttons, the UCW was not very vocal in opposition, but it did not directly represent workers in the Bank. Alan Johnson, now Home Secretary, was a UCW senior man at the time!

Personally, I think too many opportunities to revive banking at Post Offices have been lost. The bird is dead, move on.

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