NDAA language would treat Wells Fargo same as defense CUs

June 22, 2020

CUNA and other credit union organizations wrote to Senate leadership today in opposition to a provision in the Senate Armed Forces Committee-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Committee-approved bill contains language that would require Department of Defense (DoD) policies for government depository institutions and credit unions operating on military installations to be applied equally to all such institutions.

“We are concerned that this language in the NDAA could essentially require that the DoD treat large mega-banks, such as Wells Fargo, the same as a military installation’s local not-for-profit defense credit union when it comes to rent on military bases,” the letter reads. “A long track record of consumer abuses aside, Wells Fargo’s annual revenue for 2019 was $85 billion according to news reports.

DoD has the discretionary authority to afford space on military bases at a nominal rate to credit unions provided that they meet certain statutory and regulatory requirements regarding the provision of financial services in the on-base facility. This is the result of years of discussions with the DoD, which resulted in an amendment to the Federal Credit Union Act in 2006.

Banks currently have ability to work with the DoD for “in-kind considerations” on leases and other expenses, despite banker claims that they are required to pay rent at market cost.

“It is important to note that while DoD, to date, has chosen to afford space on military bases at a nominal rate to credit unions, they are not required to do so. DoD, like many others, recognizes the value that credit unions bring to our men and women in uniform, in good times and bad,” the letter reads. “For example, during the partial government shutdown last year, many credit unions offered programs to assist those impacted by a lack of a paycheck, while other financial institutions did little or nothing.

In addition to CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle, the letter was signed by Defense Credit Union Council President/CEO Anthony Hernandez and National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions President/CEO Dan Berger. The organizations also wrote to House Armed Services Committee leadership Thursday urging them to reject the language when assembling their version of the NDAA.