CU military base exemption expansion should be rejected from NDAA

July 19, 2021

CUNA joined organizations Wednesday to express its continued interest in preserving the Department of Defense’s discretionary authority to allow credit unions to use land and space on military bases at a nominal rate. CUNA, the Defense Credit Union Council, and the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions wrote to the Senate Armed Services Committee in advance of this week’s closed markup of the FY22 National Defense Authorization Act.

“Unfortunately, we expect for-profit banks to once again to ask Congress for a handout by seeking a provision in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act that would require DoD to treat them the same as credit unions when it comes to leases,” the letter reads. “It is alarming those 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 such a provision were to become law.”

The organizations note that credit unions fulfill a vital role in the military community, and their continued focus on the servicemember is evident throughout the military lifestyle.

“It is because of this focus on service to their members and their base, over profits, that led Congress to give the DoD discretionary authority to allow credit unions to use land and space on military bases at a nominal rate,” the letter reads. “It is also true that defense credit unions have been asked to remain on base to alleviate the high transactional costs coupled with poor service by other financial institutions. This is why DoD continues to grant geographic franchises to defense credit unions operating on U.S. military installations overseas.

“It is no secret, being member-owned and not-for-profit is how defense credit unions keep interest rates low and responsive to member needs (e.g., deployment), which improves the financial readiness of our military. Other financial institutions simply cannot match the credit union difference,” it adds.