FY20 Defense Authorization Passes Committee without Credit Union-Opposed Language

The House Armed Services Committee passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2020 early ThursdayWhile an amendment was offered that would have extended to banks the same rent-free access to land and facilities that credit unions have been granted due to their not-for-profit, member-owned mission and structure, CUNA, selected leagues, and the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) were successful in working with committee members to ensure such language was kept out of the final bill. 

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.

“We’re pleased that Chairman Smith (D-WA), Ranking Member Thornberry (R-TX), and the rest of the House Armed Services Committee recognized the inherent differences between the credit union mission and structure and the profit-driven model that banks operate under,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “We look forward to this bill passing the House, and we’ll continue engagement with the Senate to preserve credit unions’ ability to continue their service to American servicemembers and their families.”

The Senate version of the NDAA was released Wednesday and contains credit union-opposed language granting banks the same access as credit unions.

The Federal Credit Union Act grants the Department of Defense 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, with certain restrictions including to credit unions whose field of membership is at least 95% composed of individuals who are military personnel, federal employees, or their families.

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