WASHINGTON — Bankers and their representatives harshly criticized a call for the U.S. Postal Service to offer financial products like prepaid cards, remittances and even small consumer loans to underbanked consumers, saying it was a dangerous and foolhardy idea.

The agency's Office of Inspector General released a white paper Monday that said the cash-strapped Postal Service could earn nearly $9 billion annually by offering financial services to roughly 68 million consumers who are not served by traditional banks.

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