CUs Win on NDAA Issue: Rent-Free Leasing and Banks

Rep. John Garamendi, D-CA (Solano/Vacaville); and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA (South San Francisco)
Rep. John Garamendi, D-CA (Solano/Vacaville); and Rep. Jackie Speier, D-CA (South San Francisco)

The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) are excited to announce for the first time in multiple years, the base text of the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will not contain language offering rent-free leasing agreements banks.

For nearly six years, at least one member of Congress has offered support for the bank’s provision, leading the Leagues and CUNA to successfully remove it.

In the past, the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) has sought to gain equitable treatment on military installations similar to credit unions, which currently do not pay rent for on-base locations. This privilege for credit unions is awarded under the Federal Credit Union Act and is in no danger of being changed. However, banks are seeking to add their own privilege, which would come at the harm of military service personnel.

This year, however, due to our work as a cooperative system, the language is not up for consideration. The Senate and House armed services committees have moved forward without any discussion in this space.

“The California Credit Union League would like to express its appreciation to Representative John Garamendi (D-Solano/Vacaville), chairman of the Subcommittee on Readiness, which has jurisdiction on this issue," said Jeremy Empol, vice president of federal government affairs for the Leagues. "The congressman and his team have worked diligently over the past few years, as has Representative Jackie Speier (D-South San Francisco), chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel, to support credit unions over the for-profit banks on this issue. A lot of staff time, debates and advocacy have gone into this effort."

CUNA acknowledged the work of the system in its announcement this week, while also noting that the only outcome of this issue was a non-binding study requirement looking at how the military obtains financial services. For now, this was a brief celebatory moment for the Leagues and CUNA system, as well as partners at the Defense Credit Union Council.

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