Key Notes Volume 03 Number 03

BREAKING NEWS – Exigent Rate Is Likely to Be Baked Into New Postal Reform – Sen. Tom Carper’s relentless mission to pass postal reform this year appeared to have several backers at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  All senators and witnesses seemed to be in agreement that the Postal Service needed immediate relief from its obligation to pre-pay retiree health benefits.  They also seemed united around the belief that the 4.3% exigent surcharge due to expire in April needs to be kept to ensure adequate cash flow for a thriving Postal Services.  Most of those giving testimony held similar views. Postmaster General Megan Brennan named moving retirees onto Medicare as the most important provision in Carper’s new iPOST bill, but she ranked keeping rates at current levels a close second.  “Continuation of the exigent pricing surcharge is crucial to our financial health,” she said. “Removing it will reduce our revenues by $2 billion a year, further worsening our already precarious financial condition.”  Source:  DM News

Other related articles:

Megan Brennan: USPS financial situation is “very serious but solvable”

The Postal Service Is Delivering Itself Into Bankruptcy, Audit Shows

Call for action – USPS needs legislation now, PMG tells Senate

Postal Service ‘Unlikely’ to Make Health and Pension Payments

USPS Backing Down on Saturday Mail Delivery – Postal officials are ready to raise the white flag in their six-year battle to end Saturday delivery of letters and flat mail.  Postal-reform legislation with broad-based support is gradually taking shape in Congress, Deputy Postmaster General Ron Stroman told last week’s meeting of the Mailers Technical Advisory Council (MTAC), according to PostCom Bulletin.  The boom in e-commerce-related mail, including Sunday delivery of Amazon packages, has made curtailment of Saturday delivery an even harder sell.  Source:  Dead Tree Edition

USPS Hears Pitch to Offer Basic Banking – There’s a new push for the Postal Service to deliver basic banking services again.  The effort is led by consumer advocates, financial reform groups, postal labor unions and some leading liberals, such as presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.  They say postal banks could provide cash-strapped consumers with an affordable alternative to payday, auto-title and other short-term loans that have been criticized for high fees.  Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan hasn’t ruled out expanding banking services after her predecessor dismissed the idea.  But she has reservations.  “While we currently provide our customers with certain financial services, including money orders, electronic funds transfers and cashing of U.S. Treasury checks, our core function is not banking,” the agency said in a written statement.  Source:  The Detroit News

Direct Mail Marketing Predictions for 2016 – Direct mail is not dead, far from it.  With the growth in technology and personalization, direct mail has become an even more powerful player for your ROI.  But 2016 will bring tightened direct mail budgets, since marketers need to spread their money farther and farther.  Because of that, serious considerations need to be made with direct mail.  Click here to read five predictions for 2016, so can you continue to grow your direct mail marketing ROI.  Source:  Target Marketing

USPS Parcel Increases Not Expected to Impact Volume, Share – While the U.S. Postal Service  this past week implemented some significant price increases for parcel delivery, after keeping them low as UPS and FedEx raised a number of theirs, the moves are not expected to create major volume shifts away from the leading last-mile carrier.  The increases took effect on January 17th.  Parcel shipping consultant Jerry Hempstead said there isn’t a more effective solution for the last mile than the USPS, and no one can compete with them on price for that service.  Source:  Multichannel Merchant

eMIR, We have a Problem – The Postal Service designed the Electronic Mail Improvement Reporting System (eMIR) so employees could report mail quality issues in a web-based system and then use that information to reach out to business mailers to fix the problems.  But the adage “no news is good news” might not hold true with eMIR. The system only works if mail quality reports are entered into it.  A OIG audit report found that postal employees in the Eastern Area did not use eMIR effectively to report and resolve mail preparation issues. Postal managers reported that the current system is not “user friendly” because it takes too long to gather and enter data into eMIR. Some employees said they would rather just call or email mailers to discuss preparation concerns. Postal managers we talked to estimated 10 percent of mail preparation issues get reported into eMIR.  Source:  USPS OIG