What You’ll Learn
- Get answers to some common questions that people have when shopping for a new or used vehicle, including: can cannabis industry professionals get auto loans?
“I was going to get a new car. I was kind of new to Washington state. And I was driving a convertible, which is not really the best car to have here in Grays Harbor. The car was getting up to 200,000 miles, and I commute to work, like 30 miles one way every day. So, I bought a car and drove it home. Sold my old car within 24 hours. 10 days later, the dealership called and told me I needed to bring my new car back.”
This is Chantel’s story. She shared it with us in the hope of helping other cannabis industry workers like her have an easier car-buying experience than she did. So, why did the dealership want her to return the car she had just bought?
“The dealership said the bank denied my car loan because I worked for a marijuana company. They said to come back [to the dealership], and they were kind of aggressive. I thought they were going to take the car back because they weren’t going to take the loan. I came into work. I was really upset, which is not really my personality. I told my boss what was going on, and she said, ‘Hold on a second.’ She called Salal.”
What Chantel was going through is, unfortunately, not uncommon for people who work for cannabis businesses, cultivation operations, and even companies that only serve cannabis businesses and don’t touch the plant at all. Despite recreational cannabis being legal in over 20 states, many national banks, constrained by federal regulations, remain reluctant to provide even basic banking services to those working in the cannabis industry. (See our recent blog on the benefits of banking with a cannabis-friendly credit union for more of the backstory on why national banks won’t serve the cannabis industry). But, as Chantel was soon to learn, there are options out there for cannabis workers to get auto loans.
“So, I got in contact with the lady at Salal, and she told me, ‘Don’t sign anything until you hear from me.’ And before I even got off work that day, Salal had all the paperwork ready. Not only did I get my car loan, they got my rate knocked down from 17% to 8%. And the car dealer guy had a whole different tune when I got there. He said, ‘Oh wow, that’s amazing they got you a new loan so fast.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, it is.’ I was blown away. I ended up getting a checking account and a savings account with Salal too, and it’s been good ever since.”
Do This Before You Go Shopping for a New Vehicle
As we learned from Chantel’s story, if you work in the cannabis industry, it’s a smart move to sort out your car loan before you head to the dealership. We always recommend our members get preapproved for their auto loans before they go car shopping. This is even more important for people in the cannabis industry since you will likely not qualify for the standard financing a dealership normally offers. Getting pre-approved for your auto loan from a lender you know is cannabis-friendly can save you time and hassle. Knowing what price range you are preapproved for also signals to the dealer that you’ve done your homework and you’re an informed buyer.
At Salal, you can start the preapproval process by filling out an auto loan application. The Salal auto loan application isn’t any different for cannabis employees than for people working in any other industry (as it should be).