Good morning, I hope everyone is having a great week!
There was good news for credit unions in a recently released report from the Department of Defense (DoD). The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is part of the annual appropriations process to fund the military, required the DoD to report on the availability of financial services on military installations. The report directly contradicts for-profit banks’ rationale for seeking rent-free access on military bases, something they continually push for every year in the NDAA. Remember, the DoD already has discretionary authority to exempt credit unions from the costs associated with land leases on military bases. However, it is important to note, each of these individual agreements is the result of specific negotiations between the base commander and the credit union.
The report specifically points out, “the Department has not received any comments from military installation commanders or their respective Military Service Secretaries that Service members do not have adequate access to financial institutions.” Additionally, “there are no domestic DoD installations identified by the Military Services as lacking adequate access through on-installation and off-installation means.”
The report also comments on the wide availability of online banking services, “Financial services institutions, physically located anywhere, are widely available as a result of the proliferation of digital banking and other online financial service. As a result, DoD personnel can engage in a wide range of financial services transactions with any number of financial service providers they choose at almost any time, regardless of where either party may be physically located.”
Dakota Credit Union Association, along with CUNA and the rest of the state league system, work hard each year to preserve credit unions’ access to military bases through the annual NDAA, and believe this report supports what we have been saying for many years. The current system works, ensuring our military members living and working on military installations have access to affordable financial services provided by both banks and credit unions, without the need to require the DoD to provide rent-free access to for-profit banks.
As always, don't hesitate to contact me with any advocacy questions or concerns.
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