For years the League has encouraged Nebraska lawmakers to reject any bank attempts to share the land lease arrangement between the Department of Defense and credit unions. We have, and continue, to work closely with Congressman Don Bacon a member of the House Armed Services Committee to preserve the Department of Defense’s discretionary authority to exempt credit unions from the costs associated with land leases on military bases. Each agreement is the result of specific negotiations between the base commander and credit unions.
Earlier this year the House passed the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in a 329-101 vote. The House-passed version of the NDAA included the League’s longstanding call to protect credit union nominal leases on military installations and prevent efforts to allow all banks to operate rent-free on military bases.
During the legislative debate Lawmakers filed over 1,200 amendments to the bill, one of which required the DoD to report on the availability of financial services on military installations. The recently released report rebuked the banks argument for “parity” on this issue.
In a win for credit unions the report found that “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, the report stated, “there are no domestic DoD installations identified by the Military Services as lacking adequate access through on-installation and off-installation means.”
The fact is banks can already obtain leases at a nominal cost. Under the Military Leasing Act, 10 USC §2667, banks can demonstrate to the DoD how they would use their lease to serve and provide value to the men and women of the base. However, banks still have not exercised this authority. Instead of seeking a productive solution available to them under current law, the bank lobby continues to target their long-time nemesis credit unions.
A copy of the full DoD report can be read here.