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Mailbox a little lighter? Direct mail credit card solicitations fell 30% last year and the U.S. Post Office wants to reduce services to cope with lower demand and increasing costs. The USPS is asking Congress for permission to stop delivering mail on Saturdays to offset projected losses of $6 billion this year. Overall mail volume declined 4.5% in 2008 or about 9 billion pieces. Credit card direct mail offers declined by 1.7 billion pieces. The Post Office has annual operating revenue of nearly $75 billion and employs 682,000, the second-largest employer in the USA behind Wal-Mart. The service processes more than 212 billion pieces of mail annually. According to CardWatch.com, direct mail credit card packages fell to an estimated 3.9 billion pieces in 2008, compared to 5.6 billion in 2007 and 5.8 billion in 2006. The 3.9 billion level is the lowest since 2003.

                  DIRECT MAIL VOLUME
                  2000: 3.5 billion
                  2001: 4.9 billion
                  2002: 4.5 billion
                  2003: 3.9 billion
                  2004: 4.2 billion
                  2005: 6.0 billion
                  2006: 5.8 billion
                  2007: 5.6 billion
                  2008: 3.9 billion
         Source: CardWatch.com (www.cardwatch.com)

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