A conversation with Cole Saini: What to look for in a cannabis banking partner

As demand for cannabis banking services grows, so too does the competitive landscape. Legal cannabis businesses, already dealing with challenging market conditions marked by high tax rates, complex regulations, and competition from the illicit market, must also navigate the emergence of cannabis banking offers marketed by unregulated third-party financial service providers.

We recently sat down with Cole Saini, Director of Risk Management at California-based KeyPoint Credit Union, to talk about how regulated financial institutions can provide reliable and cost-effective cannabis banking programs, and what cannabis-related businesses (CRBs) should look for in a banking partner.

KeyPoint Credit Union was established in 1979 to provide financial services to employees in the then-nascent Silicon Valley technology industry. Today it is one of California’s largest credit unions with seven branches and more than 63,000 Members. Backed by its Board of Directors, KeyPoint launched a cannabis banking pilot program in February of 2020, just as the coronavirus pandemic was hitting our shores. While initial interest from cannabis businesses slowed, the program quickly reached capacity in the following months and has expanded to meet the demand from the industry.

Here are a few highlights from our conversation.

 

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