NEW YORK — Utility bills are paid, legal briefs are filed and Christmas shopping often gets done online. But for magazines, clothing catalogs and movies, the mail still matters.

For some mail-dependent businesses, quick and cheap first-class mail delivery by the U.S. Postal Service is still the best way to reach prospective customers and subscribers. And for many, it’s still an important way to get paid.

The Postal Service, which has been losing money for five years, said Monday that it is shuttering more than 200 mail processing centers.

The processing center in Scarborough does not appear on the list of facilities being studied for possible closure. Instead, Tom Rizzo, spokesman for the Postal Service in Maine, said the service may consider consolidating the processing facility in Hampden, which is near Bangor, with the processing center in Scarborough. If a feasibility study were to support the case for closing Hampden, the Postal Service would schedule a public meeting to gather input and answer questions.

Still, the closures would add at least a day’s wait for many first-class deliveries. That news was met with concern and frustration from some businesses in Maine and elsewhere.

The change could represent an operational headache for L.L. Bean in Freeport, which mails 250 million catalogs a year to sell outdoor clothing and equipment. Now the company knows the day its catalogs will arrive in homes, and it can put on extra staff at call centers on the appointed day. It wouldn’t be able to do that anymore.

“We are increasingly concerned about any proposal that would degrade the level of service, such as greater variability in delivery deadlines,” said Carolyn Beem, an L.L. Bean spokeswoman.

Other businesses long ago stopped relying on the post office. “It’s less of a disaster than it would have been 10 years ago, but it’ll be a cash flow crunch for some companies,” said Todd McCracken, president and chief executive of the National Small Business Association. “It’ll be longer to get your invoice, and longer to get a check back.”

The cuts are part of $3 billion in reductions aimed at helping the agency avert bankruptcy next year. They would virtually eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day, a change in first-class delivery standards that have been in place since 1971.

The plan technically must await an advisory opinion from the independent Postal Regulatory Commission, scheduled for next March. But that opinion is nonbinding, and only substantial pressure from Congress, businesses or the public might deter far-reaching cuts.

First-class mail is supposed to arrive at U.S. homes and businesses in one to three days; about 42 percent of it arrives in one day. The cutbacks will back up deliveries to two to three days; periodicals could take up to nine days.

At a news briefing in Washington, postal vice president David Williams said the post office needs to move quickly to cut costs as it seeks to stem five years of red ink amid steadily declining mail volume. After hitting 98 billion in 2006, first-class mail volume is now at less than 78 billion. It is projected to drop by roughly half by 2020.

The agency already has announced a 1-cent increase in the cost of first-class mail, to 45 cents beginning Jan. 22.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the top Republican on the Senate committee that oversees the post office, believes the agency is taking the wrong approach. She said service cuts will only push more consumers to online bill payment or private carriers such as UPS or FedEx, leading to lower revenue.

But for many companies, the changes will have no effect. Some have already stopped relying on the Postal Service, moving online for billing or to overnight companies FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. for critical deliveries.

The health-care company Medco said in a statement that it did not expect the postal changes to have a major effect on its business, although the online drug distributor used the Postal Service to send most of its 110 million drug shipments last year.

Most Netflix customers who subscribe to the company’s DVD-by-mail service watch movies on the weekends and should still be able to return movies Monday and have new ones Friday, said Michael Pachter, an analyst at the investment firm Wedbush.

– Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.