Posted on November 15, 2018
I field a number of calls from people wanting to start or acquire a financial institution to solve the lack of access to banking for the cannabis industry So, what is possible and what roadblocks might you expect to face
State vs Federal Charters: People often view ‘state chartered’ financial institutions as the charter that ‘can’ bank cannabis entities Logically, one could easily conclude that a state chartered financial institution falls under state law and legal cannabis funds are therefore acceptable to bank; pushing federal charters out of the picture This is not the case We are a state-chartered credit union with federal insurance; backed by the federal government and that ties state charters to federal examination, scrutiny and of course, regulations The playing field is the same when it comes to cannabis I would argue that state chartered financial institutions are perhaps more in tune with their community and entered the market sooner rather than later to solve a... READ MORE »
Posted on November 8, 2018
Let me just state right up front … If you need positive reinforcement, acceptance or encouragement to venture into cannabis banking, give it up now Cannabis banking is NOT for the faint of heart We remain in a time where many continue to hedge their bets: trying to determine when to get on board, or wait it out to see where this goes, or jump in when it’s almost safe, or take a stand against providing services to the industry You might be surprised by the truth in what we have faced and continue to face Still on the bleeding edge here!
It’s not that the subjects in this article are against what we do… I interpret it to be more about affiliation with the cannabis industry What will people think about me if I serve this industry coming out of its black-market history
Honestly, I never thought I’d grow up to be a ‘Marijuana Banker’! One credit union CEO here in town likes to refer to us as ‘Marijuanaville’ because we bank the industry; albeit... READ MORE »
Posted on November 2, 2018
Why do financial institutions fail to serve the cannabis industry You’ve certainly heard that question enough It's probably a little more complex than many realize There are regulations, laws, complexity, reputation, etc to consider However, it is not just the financial institution telling you ‘NO’ because they won’t bank your cannabis business… Third Parties play a major role in this national banking issue A good question is whether they will continue to present roadblocks or will they see the need to work through this strange time where state and federal laws are in conflict Remember, since most financial institutions are federally insured, federal laws cannot be ignored!
Not too long ago, I was emphasizing to a third party how we strive to follow the rules, prioritize compliance and at our very foundation, do not want to do anything wrong when, well, I had to pause mid-sentence, realizing what I was saying and just a bit embarrassed, finished very slowly with…... READ MORE »
Posted on October 30, 2018
So, true story here I and some of my staff attended a half day symposium on ‘the state of cannabis and banking’ in Colorado The audience was composed of mostly bankers This was a while back, but a story that deserves repeating
After hearing presentations to include emphasis on people jumping from windows, increasing crime, lack of law enforcement to compensate for legalization and, oh benefit to law enforcement, the federal reports being filed by financial institutions and helping law enforcement track money all over the countryit was time for Q & A!
Only one or two financial institutions in that room were actually banking the industry at that time Since there seemed to be an underlying theme on this panel to scare the audience away from banking the industry, I felt the need to ask a few clarifying questions For the most part, my questions were met with ‘Oh, we know who you are and what you do’ I was not ashamed of banking the industry (that train had left the station!),... READ MORE »
Posted on August 31, 2017
By Sundie Seefried, CEO of Safe Harbor Private Banking
For nearly three years, we’ve provided banking services to more than 100 cannabis businesses through Safe Harbor Private Banking and now process $80mm of deposits per month As a credit union, I feel we have an obligation to serve the underserved and unbanked and made a commitment to take cash off the streets and keep our communities safer throughout Colorado We are now maxing out our capacity and quickly approaching the limit on the amount of deposits we can accept from cannabis companies So, our focus now includes raising awareness and educating nationally Through speeches and editorials and face-to-face meetings, we are doing all we can to help other banks and credit unions serve the industry and help to ensure the safety of their communities As part of that effort, we are also hosting a free webinar series to share information and candidly answer questions
The first webinar held on July 13 had nearly 100 attendees that... READ MORE »
Posted on May 2, 2017
By Sundie Seefried, CEO of Safe Harbor Private Banking
After Colorado voters approved the sale and use of medicinal and recreational cannabis, the state's landscape changed Suddenly, dispensaries and grow houses were everywhere, and customers numbered in the hundreds of thousands But, federal laws made it difficult for cannabis businesses to open checking or savings accounts in federally insured financial institutions It was nearly impossible to wire funds, access lines of credit, or maintain payroll accounts The result is an industry that has been forced to pay its bills, employees, suppliers, and taxes in cash Briefcases and backpacks full of cash But, over a year ago, concerned about the risks a cash-based industry poses to public safety, Safe Harbor stepped up with a compliance cannabis banking program to take money off the streets and and offer law-abiding businesses a solution Because lack of banking, and not moving banking access forward, doesn’t just punish marijuana... READ MORE »