The American Bankers Association and two banking associations today asked the leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees to support requiring the Department of Defense to treat banks and credit unions equally by exempting both from rent requirements on military bases. Congress is currently in the process of drafting the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which sets defense spending. The associations are asking lawmakers to add the exemption to the language of the bill.
In a letter, the associations noted that a third of the banks still on bases are ATM-only operations, with many more banks likely to end their on-base presence entirely this year. The reason for this, the groups said, is rising lease costs that banks pay but credit unions do not. Credit unions have opposed leveling the playing field, claiming their presence alone provides sufficient financial support for military families. However, their real motivation is the “fear of the competition and collaboration between banks and credit unions from which military families have benefited for over a century,” the groups said.
“We support it today because it provides exactly the same benefit for banks and, thereby, increases the likelihood that they will remain on and return to military bases,” the groups wrote.