Credit unions remain opposed to any banking lobby amendments to the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), CUNA and other organizations wrote to House and Senate Armed Forces Committee leadership Monday. The committee is preparing to mark up the NDAA at the subcommittee level this week.
“We remain opposed to any amendments from the banking lobby on Department of Defense (DoD) land leases as there are significant differences between for-profit banks and not-for-profit credit unions,” the letter reads. “We thank the Committee for recognizing these important distinctions whether it is a large commercial bank or a small community bank. More importantly, with multiple global contingencies and force structure considerations, Congress and DoD have more pressing issues to consider. Thus, we oppose the bank lobby using this critical, must-pass defense bill as a shortcut to increase their profit margins.”
The organizations noted the 2022 DoD report—created at the request of the House Armed Services Committee—that showed there were no issues with lack of financial services access under the current lease arrangement.
“Thus, DoD sees no need to change the status quo which should settle this issue so the Committee can rightly move on to more urgent national security concerns,” the letter reads. “Furthermore, the ‘in-kind consideration’ process outlined in DoD’s report makes clear that lower base leases are available to ‘for-profit’ banks which would decrease their expenses if they exercised statutory provisions under the Military Leasing Act. There is little evidence of banks being denied an opportunity to work with DoD and obtain ‘in-kind consideration.’”
They also note there is no need to consumer the committee’s time to develop a legislative formula to “impose on installation commanders who are busy enough preparing for combat operations.”
“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. This is why America’s credit unions continue to earn their nominal lease structure by providing safe, sound, and available financial products and services,” the letter reads.
CUNA, the Defense Credit Union Council, and National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions sent the letters.