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Home With Congress Pushing Toward Holiday Recess, League Engaged with Lawmakers, Watching for Attempts to Advance Harmful Legislation

With Congress Pushing Toward Holiday Recess, League Engaged with Lawmakers, Watching for Attempts to Advance Harmful Legislation

12/5/2023

Your League remains engaged with lawmakers and watchful for any movement on credit union-opposed legislation as Congress pushes toward its holiday recess. The National Defense Authorization Act remains a top Congressional priority, notes League Chief Advocacy Officer JT Blau, with lawmakers hoping to pass the legislation before its break. Conferees are working to iron out differences in the Senate and House versions of the NDAA, which means we’ll need to remain watchful for attempts to provide banks with the same “free rent” benefit credit unions receive for facilities on military bases. Credit unions oppose extending “free rent” access to banks, given big banks’ track record of anti-consumer behavior. 

A 2022 report by the Department of Defense (DoD) also undercut for-profit banks’ rationale for seeking rent-free access on military bases. The report noted that servicemembers and their families are not limited in their options to access financial services, including on-base options, which is a claim bankers used to bolster their argument for "free rent" access on military bases. 

Last month, this issue resurfaced in a U.S. Senate committee hearing on financial protections for servicemembers. Interestingly, banks already can obtain leases at a nominal cost by demonstrating to DoD how they would use their lease to serve and provide value to the men and women of the base. Credit unions note that banks still have not exercised this authority.

"Measures like the NDAA tend to serve as vehicles for lawmakers to advance their own legislative agendas," notes Blau. "Credit unions have successfully fought off efforts in past years from banks seeking 'free rent' access on military bases, and we remain engaged with lawmakers on this issue as we await final language from Senate and House conferees." 

 



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