August 15, 2019

NAFCU, DCUC team up to oppose NDAA lease provision

Berger, Hernandez
NAFCU's Dan Berger (left) and DCUC's Anthony Hernandez.

NAFCU and the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) shared with lawmakers credit unions' concerns about requiring the Department of Defense (DoD) to treat big banks the same as a military installation's local, not-for-profit credit union when it comes to nominal leases on military bases.

NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger and DCUC President and CEO Anthony Hernandez sent the letter Wednesday to Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Ranking Member Jack Reed, D-R.I., and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, and members of their respective committees as they prepare to begin work on reconciling differences in the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The Senate-passed NDAA contains the NAFCU- and DCUC-opposed provision while the House-passed version does not.

"Section 2821 of the Senate 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. A long track record of consumer abuses aside, Wells Fargo's annual gross profit for 2018 was $86 billion according to news reports," Berger and Hernandez wrote.

Berger and Hernandez explained that an amendment to the Federal Credit Union Act in 2006 gave the DoD "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."

While the DoD is not required to offer credit unions space on military bases at a nominal rate, they have chosen to do so because the department "recognizes the value that credit unions bring to our men and women in uniform, in good times and bad."

Section 2821, if enacted, would "tie the fate of banks on the lease issue to credit unions" and could disadvantage credit unions in the process, Berger and Hernandez argued.

NAFCU has ardently opposed this provision throughout NDAA discussions and its efforts kept it out of the House bill. The association will work to ensure it is not included in the final version of the bill, just as it did last year.

Credit unions can learn more about the issue and contact their representatives and senators directly on the issue through NAFCU's Grassroots Action Center.