Salal Credit Union

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Experience Matters When It Comes to Cannabis Banking

Bank with confidence by choosing an institution with significant experience navigating the complex financial landscape of the cannabis industry.

By Brett Ballman

Despite federal illegality, steep taxation, and complex regulatory requirements, the cannabis industry continues to grow at a steady rate. If you own a cannabis business or work for one, it is critical to bank with a financial institution that has strong experience serving this rapidly changing new industry. Experienced cannabis-friendly financial institutions have witnessed the ups and downs of the industry and have a deeper understanding of the regulatory nuances that shape how cannabis banking works.

At Salal Credit Union, we’ve been a credit union since 1948 and involved in cannabis banking since 2014. These many years of experience and the relationships we’ve forged along the way, provide the foundation for our suite of cannabis services and exceptional customer support.

Salal Knows the Regulators … and the Regulations

In 2014, the year recreational cannabis businesses began opening their doors in Washington state, Salal partnered with state regulators to become one of the first financial institutions in the US to offer banking solutions for the cannabis industry. We’ve also been active advocates for cannabis industry banking at the state and federal level. The cannabis industry operates within a complex and evolving regulatory framework. Our experience during the early days of legal cannabis informs our products and services, and helps us to anticipate and understand the cycles of the industry.

Our deep experience also means that we’re well-versed in the complex ownership structures that cannabis businesses can have. These ownership complexities can make some banks and credit unions reluctant to work with cannabis businesses. At Salal, we’re willing to put in the hard work of due diligence it takes to work with these companies, leading to more cannabis businesses getting access to essential banking services.

Cannabis Banking Consultants and Advisors

At Salal, our experience and industry knowledge allow us to go beyond the basic cannabis banking model. Our dedicated account officers also serve as a valuable source of advice and guidance for our members, helping their businesses flourish and thrive.

Cannabis laws can differ from one state or city to another. It’s essential to have a credit union like Salal that has a deep understanding of the legal requirements, compliance obligations and reporting standards specific to where you are operating your cannabis business. This ensures your business remains compliant and avoids legal issues and costly penalties. We currently operate in 19 states and continue to lobby at both the local and federal levels to promote industry advancement.

There are many financial institutions that offer low- to no-fee structure accounts to attract cannabis businesses because they want to increase their deposits. The problem is, banking this industry as it’s currently regulated is complex and costly, and those institutions do not have the internal support or structure to handle the compliance burden. They then ultimately shut down their program or never truly offer the types of accounts and services that a business needs to grow.

Account fees are higher than typical business accounts because they have to offset the intense compliance and regulatory burden inherent in cannabis banking. If an institution isn’t charging them, you should look closely at why, and be wary of any deal that appears “too good to be true.”

Choosing a financial institution like Salal that has the necessary know-how earned from years of experience is the safest and surest route to success.

Reach out today to learn more and gain a greater understanding of how Salal can provide a safe and secure place for all of your cannabis banking needs