Defense credit unions continue to serve our nation’s servicemembers and their families exceptionally well, CUNA, the Defense Credit Union Council, and National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions wrote to House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders Tuesday. The letter was sent in advance of consideration of the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
Banks have sought to be eligible for certain waivers for on-base branches in recent years, but CUNA, League, and partner advocacy has prevented inclusion of any such language.
“We anticipate for-profit banks to ask Congress for a handout by seeking a provision in the 2024 NDAA that would require DoD to treat them the same as credit unions when it comes to leases. This may include inserting a provision that would force DoD to provide the same nominal leases to all banks,” the letter reads. “It is alarming that large banks such as Wells Fargo and Bank of America, who regularly earn billions in profits would be equal to not-for profit credit unions if this provision were to become law. Keep in mind, credit unions are owned by their members – the men and women of the military.”
The letter notes the Department of Defense studied the issue last year in a report analyzing financial access for servicemembers on base. The report found servicemembers on base had many options—and no obstacles—when it came to obtaining financial services on any domestic military installations.
It also notes banks are currently eligible for similar waivers, but have not pursued that option.
“The bottom line is that for-profit banks have declined to use the process available to them at the DoD to lower base leases,” the letter reads. “Furthermore, we are concerned that this effort by for-profit banks would amount to Congressional micromanagement of individual base commanders to solve a problem that the DoD has confirmed does not exist. We oppose them using this critical, must-pass defense bill to cut corners and we ask that you - again - reject any proposal to insert this provision into the 2024 NDAA.”