Cannabis banking with a credit union means your money is held by a financial co-op whose profits go back to you and your community, and help support the entire cannabis industry.
By Brett Ballman and Matt Vance
It’s no secret that traditional banks are reluctant to serve the cannabis industry. Why? Because the plant is still illegal at the federal level and highly regulated in the states where it is legal.
If your business is licensed and regulated by the state where you are located and you meet our membership requirements, we are more than happy to serve your cannabis banking and lending needs.
And when you open an account, apply for a loan, or engage in any other service we provide, you instantly become a member of the cooperative. It makes no difference that your money comes from the cannabis industry; you receive the same personalized and responsive customer service as any other member of our credit union.
Salal’s Member-Owned Structure
Unlike traditional banks that operate to maximize profits for shareholders, credit unions like Salal are owned by their members and operate as not-for-profit financial institutions. This is critical to the strategy behind how credit unions use the money of their members. Our purpose is to provide value to our members in the form of lower interest rates, lower fees, excellent service, and charitable giving that benefits their communities. It also helps us continually update our banking systems and online platforms to enhance the convenience and security of your financial transactions. Quite simply, at Salal, people come before profits.
When we make a profit, it’s primarily reinvested back into the cooperative. One of the most important roles of a credit union is to lend money to their members. And as a cannabis industry member, when you take out a loan from Salal—like a capital equipment loan, a home purchase loan, or a commercial real estate loan—you are essentially borrowing money from the collective deposits of fellow members. The interest paid on loans by our members is then a source of income for us, enabling Salal to keep those interest rates and fees low, along with covering our operating costs (such as maintaining our high standard of service with a skilled and well-trained staff).
We Reinvest in Communities
What else does Salal do with your money? Since we are member-owned, our profits don’t go to distant shareholders. While your deposits are earning interest, the credit union can use some of that money to make loans to people and businesses in your community—including those who might not be able to get loans from larger banks (e.g., cannabis businesses and employees). And the stronger our credit union is, the more people we can help and the more we can give back to the communities we serve.
Speaking of giving back, Salal is committed to giving 5% of our annual income to help people and causes our members care about. Our approach to giving centers on four main “pillars”: healthcare, housing insecurity, social equity, and renewable energy.
Our support for renewable energy includes a partnership with GRID Alternatives, an organization that works to build community-powered solutions to advance economic and environmental justice through renewable energy. Financial support from Salal helps GRID create and install solar projects that serve low-income households and communities. We have also linked our solar initiatives with GRID to increase focus on workforce development by training employees for potential employment in the solar industry.
Safe and Secure Cannabis Financial Services
As member-owned financial institutions, credit unions like Salal aren’t driven by stockholders to take big risks in the pursuit of profits. When it comes to protecting our members’ money, slow and steady wins the race. We also operate under stricter rules than for-profit banks governing how we lend money and how much we can lend out. And because Salal serves the cannabis industry, we are even more tightly regulated than most credit unions.
Since 2014, we’ve worked closely with state regulators to provide a safe and legal way for cannabis businesses to access vital banking services. What began as an effort to prevent crime and boost public safety has become an enduring commitment to the exciting and dynamic cannabis industry.
Interested in learning more about how Salal can support your work in the cannabis industry with safe and secure banking? Reach out today.