CUNA/Leagues Call for Rejection of Expanded Bank Access to Military Bases

CUNA, and several state leagues urged the House Armed Services Committee to reject language in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 that would allow banks rent-free access to military bases. The committee started marking up the NDAA Tuesday.

CUNA sent a letter for the record of the markup and selected state leagues reached out to their members serving on the committee. The NJCUL contacted Armed Services Committee members from New Jersey, Reps. Donald Norcross (D-1) and Andy Kim (D-3). Mikie Sherrill (D-11). Kim and Sherrill have defense-related credit unions in their districts.

“As the only member-owned, not-for-profit, democratically controlled option in financial services, credit unions' mission is to promote thrift and provide access to credit for members. It is a mission they have fulfilled for more than 70 years and it’s a mission that remains unchanged today. Credit unions are focused on ensuring the financial readiness of our service members and their families,” the letter reads.

“CUNA and its members urge the House and Senate Armed Services committees to reject the inclusion of any language in the FY 2020 NDAA that would go beyond DoD’s current authority regarding exemptions from the costs related to leases, utilities, and services on military bases for financial institutions.”

The Department of Defense is granted discretionary authority to waive the cost of credit union land leases, as negotiated between each military installation’s base commander and a given credit union under the Federal Credit Union Act. The exemption is not guaranteed for every credit union on every military base, it is a negotiation between an installation commander and a specific credit union.

This exemption is restricted in scope to credit unions whose field of membership is at least 95% composed of individuals who are or were at the time of admission into the credit union military personnel, federal employees, or family of those who are or were.

CUNA’s letter also notes that banks have the ability for the same type of waiver under Title 10 of the U.S. Code, but have not exercised this authority.