The Prime Minister today announced a bigger role for post offices in providing financial services aimed at increasing access to reliable financial products for consumers and small businesses.
Gordon Brown told Labour's conference: "I want the Post Office to play a much bigger role, bringing banking services back to the heart of people's communities."
The announcement will be welcomed by business groups and trade unions which have been campaigning for a People's Bank to help secure the future of the UK's 12,000 post offices.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said the announcement will help secure a "viable future" for the network.
He said: "The Post Office is one of the country's great assets. It is a trusted institution that offers face-to-face contact in the heart of local communities.
"The time is right to build on these strong foundations and substantially increase the banking services it offers.
"It is also excellent news for consumers and small businesses - giving people access to a full range of banking products at an institution they trust and value."
The Post Office is one of the UK's fastest growing financial services providers, and the country's number one foreign currency provider.
The Government said today's announcement would be the next step towards turning the Post Office into a leading player in financial services, offering a full suite of products across its network.
Ministers said they will be consulting to help the development of new banking products and services from the Post Office "which meet the needs of hard-working families".
The Post Office already offers a range of financial services, including savings, insurance, lending and foreign currency products.