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|National Defense Authorization Act FY2021|
New (Senate began marking up 2021 NDAA starting week of March 16, 2020)
DCUC continues to monitor and oppose bank industry efforts to take away defense credit unions access to no-cost land leases. For NDAA FY2021 DCUC is looking for ways to better protect its members from unfair banking industry attacks and continues to underscore the defense credit union difference.
After years of negotiation with the Department of Defense and through amendment of the Federal Credit Union Act in 1996, Credit Unions - at the discretion of the base commander - may be exempted from the costs associated with leases, utilities, and ATM placement on military installations. This exemption is limited to credit unions if at least 95 percent of the membership to be served by the allotment of space or the facility built on the lease land is composed of individuals who are, or who were at the time of admission into the credit union, military personnel or federal employees, or members of their families. This exemption is not guaranteed for every credit union on every military base. It is a negotiation between the base commander and that specific credit union.
Banks already have the ability via 10 USC §2667 to obtain the same type of waiver for rent. However, banks have not exercised this clause. Instead, the banking industry has sought “parity” for no cost land leases through the NDAA, arguing that credit unions and banks are the same and, therefore, deserve the same benefits. This stance ignores the non-for-profit foundation of the credit union industry as well as the numerous restrictions credit unions must follow. It also ignores the fact that as a member-owned financial institution, defense credit unions give back to the same military communities that they are embedded in, not a third-party shareholder.