December 08, 2020

NAFCU shares support of NDAA, urges House to pass legislation

capitolAs the House prepares to consider the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler urged the chamber to support and pass the important piece of legislation.

Of note, the bill includes NAFCU-sought language to make Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/anti-money laundering (AML) reforms and does not include changes to on-base leases sought by the banking industry.

In the letter, sent to House leadership, Thaler thanked the conference committee for recognizing the important role that defense credit unions play in providing servicemembers with "traditional financial services and protecting our troops from predatory lenders."

Thaler noted that while the Department of Defense (DoD) has chosen to afford space on military spaces at a nominal rate to credit unions, the department is not required to do so.

"DoD, like many others, recognizes the value that credit unions bring to our men and women in uniform, in good times and bad," wrote Thaler. "For example, during the partial government shutdown last year, many credit unions offered programs to assist those impacted by a lack of a paycheck, while other financial institutions did little or nothing."

In reference to BSA/AML reform, Thaler highlighted that the legislation would make critical improvements by requiring companies to disclose their true beneficial ownership information to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to create a new nonpublic database.

"NAFCU has consistently recognized the importance of FinCEN, BSA, and AML/countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) requirements in assisting in the prevention of tax evasion, money laundering and terrorist financing," wrote Thaler.

"Our members have a good working relationship with FinCEN, and they consistently inform us that the publication of periodic BSA/AML guidance is very helpful," Thaler added. "However, BSA/AML requirements remain a burden to implement, and the system is in need of improvements and reform."

NAFCU's NDAA advocacy began early this year to ensure the bank-sought provision was not included. The association worked in coordination with the Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) and CUNA to build awareness and support on Capitol Hill.

Stay tuned to NAFCU Today for updates as the bill moves through the House and Senate.