Up in smoke: Cannabis, credit unions, and you

A question is getting asked these days that you probably never thought would be on the minds of credit union executives: should we get involved in cannabis banking?

Even 10 months ago it was a topic broached only by the boldest financial institutions. Why? Because one recent US Attorney General had been adamant that marijuana is against federal law, period. And, although his successors have been vaguer about marijuana, the volatile character of the current White House gave pause to many in financial services.

In a worst-case scenario, the whole of an institution’s assets possibly could be tied up over a single, small cannabis business, and who needs that?

Not too many, in fact. For the quarter ending in March 2020, just 710 banks and credit unions reported serving marijuana businesses, down from 739 for the quarter ended in December 2019.

With about 10,000 banks and credit unions in the US, that means 93% percent say no thanks.


continue reading »