It is no secret that the last few years have seen big strides made in the legalization of cannabis and the growth of a new industry. In 2020, legal cannabis broke new ground in many ways—New Jersey, Montana, Arizona, and South Dakota voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis while Mississippi voted to legalize medicinal marijuana.
Despite this progress and the maturing of the industry, banking will continue to be a challenge as cannabis companies within the U.S. cannot access traditional banking services and largely have to operate in cash.
A lack of banking options creates roadblocks
Because financial institutions fear federal legal penalties that could include loss of their FDIC insurance, only a few hundred banks nationwide actively operate cannabis accounts. Most are small credit unions with capitalizations in the tens of millions, and most won’t take more than 30 percent of their deposits from companies in a single industry (as is standard among financial services providers). This means that while some banking options exist for cannabis companies, capacity is severely limited.
Additionally, most banks charge cannabis accounts thousands of dollars per month in fees to offset the increased compliance burden, putting financial services out of reach for smaller cannabis companies.
Limited access to financial services drives some cannabis companies to do business entirely in cash. Operating in an all-cash environment makes accurate record-keeping a challenge. A recent audit of the Nevada Department of Taxation’s Marijuana Regulation and Enforcement program found that the state missed out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenues due to inaccurate record-keeping by cannabis businesses. Cannabis companies that file inaccurate returns must pay late fees and other penalties, adding to the already considerable costs of operating without bank access.
The SAFE Banking Act
The floodgate moment we’re waiting for in the industry, is for the U.S. to have access to public markets. The removal of these banking barriers that have kept the U.S. cannabis market at bay may soon be addressed by the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act, which is currently awaiting approval from Congress.
The SAFE Banking Act is filled with hopeful possibilities. The global cannabis market needs access to institutional capital, and our post-COVID economy needs the stimulus offered by the legal cannabis industry. The SAFE Banking Act will protect financial institutions from prosecution, loss of insurance, and undocumented pressure from regulators to terminate relationships with legitimate cannabis-related businesses and related individuals. However, we are not there yet, as it currently awaits approval from Congress.
CannaBusiness Financing has solutions
However, we do have a solution available to the industry now!
Our team has experience assisting clients who have an incredible amount of cash in safes—causing excessive stress. But that doesn’t have to be the case for owners of cannabis businesses anymore. The bank we work with is under the radar, and is accessible for cannabis businesses. To get started the process will look like this:
- A representative of our company will have a conference call with you to discuss the banking program and answer any questions.
- The procedure is to first have a conference call with the bank and client.
- The bank then provides a questionnaire for the client to fill out.
- The bank then verifies that the company is licensed and legal, etc. This onboarding process typically takes about three weeks in a two-step process.
- Once approved, the client can begin making their cash deposits via armored truck.
What Can I Expect For My Business?
- The key is that Cash deposits are now ACCEPTABLE – No maximum. All cash deposits picked up by armored truck only—the bank does not allow any cash deposits other than via scheduled armored truck pick-up and delivery to the bank.
- The armored truck company handling the deposits is a national brand, so you can rest assured of the quality of their service. You as the client can easily verify their integrity, reliability—and for that matter—can also easily verify the bank`s integrity before proceeding.
- Standard Bank Fees for cannabis companies are $550 to $700 per month
- Bank offers traditional services such as wire transfers, ACH, etc.
Services That Are Available:
- Business checking
- Bill pay
- ACH payroll origination
- Online banking with our mobile app
- Debit/ATM card