CUNA prepares response to Crapo’s concerns on SAFE Banking

WASHINGTON, DC (February 7, 2020) — Credit Union National Association (CUNA) today sent a response to Senate Banking Committee (SBC) Chairman Sen. Mike Crapo (D-Idaho) who requested public feedback on ways to address public health and money laundering concerns with cannabis banking.

CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle points out that the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act can be modified to address most of Chairman Crapo’s concerns in a manner consistent with the narrow objectives the bill was designed to achieve. The organization, which represents America’s credit unions, notes that, with the exception of the proposal to add public health and safety requirements to the enforcement responsibilities of the financial institutions, the SAFE Banking Act is already consistent with Chairman Crapo’s positions.

“We urge you to continue to advance the SAFE Banking Act through the Senate Banking Committee’s consideration process in order to allow the proposed changes to be considered as amendments that all of the members of the Committee can vote upon,” Nussle wrote.

CUNA testified in support of the SAFE Banking Act in front of House and Senate members last year, and the House passed the bill in September. The legislation would provide protections for financial institutions that serve cannabis businesses and ancillary businesses in states where cannabis is legal.

“Enactment of this bill would offer much-needed, narrowly targeted federal protections for credit unions and other financial institutions who accept deposits from, extend credit to, or provide payment services for an individual or business engaged in cannabis-related commerce in states where the activity is legal ─ as long as the activity is compliant with all other applicable laws and regulations,” Nussle wrote. “CUNA strongly believes that federal legislation providing these protections is essential to bringing revenue from state-sanctioned cannabis entities and hemp businesses into the financial services mainstream and, as a result, keeping communities safe by removing vast amounts of cash off the streets.”

CUNA notes that neither the association nor its members take a position on the legalization or decriminalization of cannabis. Rather, CUNA believes that the conflict between federal law and the laws in 33 states and District of Columbia that allow sales of cannabis, creates compliance challenges for credit unions that require Congress’s immediate attention.

Additional comments were made for the chairman’s consideration on the following concerns:

  • Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) being required to issue rulemaking
  • The SAFE Banking Act and the facilitation of interstate commerce of cannabis
  • Why the existing language of the Financial Institution Consumer Protection Act is preferable to the Chairman’s recent proposal
  • CUNA and its member credit unions support for the Chairman’s recommendation to continue to include the House hemp provisions in the SAFE Banking Act

About CUNA

Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is the only national association that advocates on behalf of all of America’s credit unions, which are owned by 135 million consumer members. CUNA, along with its network of affiliated state credit union leagues, delivers unwavering advocacy, continuous professional growth and operational confidence to protect the best interests of all credit unions. For more information about CUNA, visit To find your nearest credit union, visit


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