CUNA joined the Defense Credit Union Council and the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions to oppose any potential expansion of the credit union lease arrangement with military bases to banks. Credit unions are eligible for certain cost waivers on military installations, and banks have tried for years to expand this language to for-profit financial institutions.
The organizations sent the letter to Senate Armed Services Committee leadership, and asked the committee to reconsider the language included in its version of the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act requesting the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on why banks and credit unions are treated differently. Given a recent Department of Defense report that noted servicemembers do not face any gaps in accessing financial service, the letter argued that the briefing was unnecessary since the DoD has already concluded its findings.
“Credit unions have always maintained that equal treatment needs to focus on service, structure, and ethos, not increasing the bank’s profit sustainability. It is outrageous that large banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America, who regularly earn billions in profits, would expect DoD to treat them the same as credit unions when it comes to leases. However, rather than seeking a productive solution available to them under current law, the bank lobby chooses to target their long-time nemesis credit unions in the process.”
The letter also pushes back on a number of bank falsehoods.
“Defense credit unions do not fear competition from banks, especially on base, as there can be an important role for both institutions to play. But credit unions simply put our members first—ahead of profit,” the letter reads. “If banks want to be treated like credit unions, they need to start acting like them. Equal treatment needs to focus on service, structure, and ethos, not increasing the bank’s profit sustainability.”