CUNA supports cannabis banking legislation

WASHINGTON, DC (June 13, 2018) — The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) endorses three pieces of legislation that further defines credit unions’ ability to serve cannabis-based businesses in states where the practice is legal. CUNA’s advocacy priority is protecting credit unions’ ability to safely serve members and member businesses who need access to depository and lending services. The organization does not have a position on the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana.

“CUNA supports credit unions’ ability to serve their members. In states where cannabis is legal for medicinal and recreational purposes, credit union members are engaged in this market but have difficulty accessing traditional banking services,” said CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan. “It is also possible that credit unions in states where cannabis is not legal are, without their knowledge, serving members engaged in this market.”

Credit unions run the risk of knowingly and unknowingly serving cannabis businesses without sufficient safe harbor to do so. Individuals or businesses engaged in marijuana-related commerce operate on cash due to the lack of access to banking service. This, in turn, creates a safety risk for communities.

“These bills would address businesses having access to traditional depository and lending services in a safe and affordable way, and they are consistent with CUNA’s policy to support credit unions providing services to members engaged in activity that is legal at the state level,” Donovan added. “We look forward to working with the sponsors to secure passage.”

CUNA supports a reasonable and sound approach to cannabis banking as credit unions are operating in states where marijuana is legal and need access to services.

CUNA wrote three letters in support of:

  • The Strengthening of the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act of 2018 (S. 3032) which would allow credit unions and other financial institutions to accept deposits, extend credit, provide payment services to members and businesses engaged in legal marijuana-related commerce. The bill was recently introduced by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
  • The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2017 (H.R. 2215) introduced by Reps. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Denny Heck (D-Wash.). The bill is narrowly targeted to provide a safe harbor to credit unions and other financial institutions involved in marijuana-related commerce.
  • The Senate SAFE Banking Act (S. 1152), introduced by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.). S. 1152 includes similar provisions to the above legislation and would put several prohibitions in place for federal banking regulators.

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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