CUs Seek to Build Momentum on NDAA Changes as Congress Returns and Call-to-Action Continues

Several months of credit union advocacy has brought positive changes in the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). As Congress returns from its recess, CUNA and the state leagues are hoping to keep that momentum going, activating credit union members to keep a provision out of the final bill.

Section 2821 of the Senate version of the NDAA (S.1790) would expand the exemption that allows for the waiving of certain fees and land lease costs for credit unions on military installations. The exemption would be expanded to include other financial institutions that meet the same criteria as credit unions that receive a waiver.

CUNA/League advocacy has already made progress on the issue, helping to ensure removal of a more troublesome provision in the original House NDAA (H.R. 2500) that would have expanded the exemption further than the current language.

Efforts to underscore the difference between the member focus of credit unions and their history of service to the military and their families has been a key topic for discussion during credit unions’ Capitol Hill and in-district visits with congressional lawmakers and their staffs. This advocacy work led to one of the most-read publications on Capitol Hill, Bloomberg Government, underscoring credit unions’ concerns in a recent article.

The NDAA Call-to-Action continues as members of Congress are slated to return to Washington next week. 

Thus far, more than 2,700 messages calling for the removal of the provision have been sent to lawmakers through the CUNA/League system’s Grassroots Action Center.

Credit union professionals, volunteers and members are encouraged to visit the webpage where they can easily email or Tweet their members of Congress to tell them to reject the Section 2821 and listing why it would be detrimental to credit unions, members and consumers.

New Jersey credit union advocates willing to go a step further are asked to contact New Jersey conferees’ offices directly:

CUNA and the state leagues wrote to House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders and members in early August to urge the conference committee reject the inclusion of Section 2821. The NJCUL has also been in contact with the state’s conferees. The letters and conversations note that credit unions’ nature as not-for-profit financial cooperatives means “credit unions on military bases are focused on ensuring the financial readiness of America’s service members. The credit union mission and structure mean funds are reinvested in the bases and the military communities that they operate in through lower rates, better products and more responsive services for our servicemembers.”

CUNA and the state leagues successfully fought against inclusion of a similar provision in last year’s NDAA.