Post Office boss envisages a Post Bank for low-income communities

Given that mail and paper are declining businesses in our digital world, Mark Barnes is planning to gear up the Post Office to leverage off its established infrastructure so it can take full advantage of its wide reach across the country.

Talking to Kieno Kammies about his vision for change, he said it was natural to him and others at SAPO to go into financial services and participate in e-commerce. He points out that in an economy with huge inequality, a socio-economic mandate is needed in order to effect change.

You cannot hand over banks and banking to the private sector and think that you'll achieve it because the cost of capital will drive up those loans beyond affordability. You'd actually create more division, not less.

Mark Barnes, CEO of SAPO

We see a role of the Post Bank as a state organisation with a reach into the informal economy where we can begin the process of including people at the right cost of capital to create a funding mechanism for the middle class which will eventually pay tax and become self sufficient.

Mark Barnes, CEO of SAPO

Given that SAPO has more branches than any bank in the country, and is required to be closer to the rural community than any other business-only association, taking advantage of this is fundamental to the turnaround strategy.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Post Bank is best placed to work with government to find a sustainable solution ... sitting at the same side of the desk.

Mark Barnes, CEO of SAPO

Listen to Mark Barnes, CEO of SAPO, put forward his ideas about how the Post Bank could boost the economy, uplift rural communities and improve government efficiency:

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