Senate Defense Bill Requires Banks, Credit Unions to Be Treated Equally on Military Bases

In what could be a blow to credit unions, the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday approved a 2021 defense authorization bill that would require the Pentagon to provide equal treatment for banks and credit unions on military installations.

The provision was contained in the massive defense bill that now goes to the Senate floor; the committee approved the bill 25-2.

Credit unions currently receive free rent on military bases as long as 95% of the membership served by the branch are military members. Banks, however, do not receive that benefit.

Banking trade groups have been fighting to gain the free rent benefit, saying they deserve equal treatment. However, credit union trade groups argue that credit unions are non-profit institutions, while banks are not.

The Senate version of the defense authorization bill has included the equal treatment provision in the past. However, the House has not agreed to it and it has been dropped. The House Armed Services Committee has not considered its version of the defense bill yet.


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