The Deputy s question may arise from the recent publication of the Report on the Standard Bank Account pilot project. That Report noted that the view of the stakeholders was that one of the key elements that will have to be part of the preparations for a successful national roll-out of a Standard Bank Account is greater involvement by An Post and the credit unions to have the best possible channel for reaching the target cohorts. The Report also noted that barriers of existing infrastructure had prohibited this to date.
The Financial Inclusion Working Group, chaired by my Department includes An Post together with stakeholders from other Government Departments, the Central Bank of Ireland, retail banks, the National Consumer Agency and voluntary sector organisations. The role of An Post is one of the issues which will be dealt with in the preparations for any rollout of the Standard Bank Account. The Deputy will be aware that, while An Post is not part of the clearing system operated by the retail banks, it does provide a range of banking services to those who do not have a bank account including facilities for paying bills and operating savings accounts. An Post is of course the main outlet for the State s various savings schemes, such as Post Office bonds and Savings Certificates and the National Solidarity Bond. The Deputy will also be aware that Postbank, a joint venture between An Post and BNP Paribas, offering banking services through the post office network closed in 2010.