Update on Access to Financial Services

October 7th, 2019, Banking, Business & Corporate

Since our last update in April, the landscape for financial services access has seen significant developments, mostly at the federal level.

While the state-level legislation outlined (LD 1402, An Act To Allow State-chartered Credit Unions To Service Medical and Adult Use Marijuana Business Accounts) was voted ought-not-to-pass and died in the state legislature, the federal House of Representatives voted on the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) of Banking Act on September 25th. The bill passed by a vote of 321-103.

The SAFE Banking Act would allow federally-insured banks to work with cannabis businesses that comply with state marijuana laws. This bill is the first vote on a standalone cannabis bill, passing with the support of 229 Democrats, 91 Republicans, and 1 Independent. In addition to codifying protections for financial institutions that serve cannabis businesses, it also secures protection for those institutions serving hemp businesses.

The next step is to pass the US Senate, where there is a companion bill sponsored by 33 Senators, 26 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 2 Independents (also titled the SAFE Banking Act). In July, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on challenges the industry faces when trying to access traditional financial services.

This month, in light of the House announcing its vote on the SAFE Banking Act, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) indicated his committee intends to finalize a Senate version, either the SAFE Banking Act, or a similar, newly-drafted bill, for a potential vote before year-end.