Advocacy Moves the Needle on NDAA Legislation

Language was removed from the bill that would have given big banks the same access to military bases that not-for-profit credit unions have.

12/17/2019

The newly reconciled version of the National Defense Authorization Act sets the stage for credit unions to better serve those who serve our nation.

A key focus of the Northwest Credit Union Association’s advocacy team this year has been ensuring that the final 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) did not include language allowing Wall Street Banks the same access to military bases that credit unions have. Advocacy paid off when a congressional conference committee removed language giving certain banks cost waivers to operate on military bases.

The Credit Union Movement’s position remains steadfast – banks would profit off servicemembers and funnel those profits to stockholders.

“As not-for-profit cooperatives, credit unions’ primary focus is to serve their members, whether on Main Street, or on military bases,” said Samantha Beeler, Vice President, Advocacy. “It is critically important that our servicemembers have access to credit unions, as we serve those who serve our country. Their financial security is essential to their ability to carry out their duties.”

NWCUA worked closely with advocates from member credit unions, the Credit Union National Association, and the Defense Council of Credit Unions to ensure the final text in the Act was correct.

The House version of the legislation did not grant the banks rent-free access and was driven by the recommendations of the House Armed Services Committee, chaired by Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA 9). The Senate version, however, added language pursued by the bank lobby.

“We’re grateful to the conference committee, to all advocates who supported our position, to Chairman Smith, and most of all to our servicemembers,” Beeler said.

The final version will be voted on next in both the House and Senate, and assuming it passes, will be sent to President Donald Trump for his signature.