Senators ask federal financial regulators
for combined guidance on marijuana banking
March 25, 2016 -- Letters to all five federal financial institution regulators – and FinCEN – asking them to issue combined guidance governing how financial institutions can effectively serve marijuana-related business have been sent by four senators representing states that have recently legalized marijuana use.
The letters, sent to chairs of NCUA, the Fed and the FDIC, as well as the leaders of the Treasury, OCC and FinCEN, notes that without guidance from prudential regulators, credit unions and banks will continue to “lack the certainty they need to operate in this market.”
The letters were signed by Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden (both D-Oregon), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.).
“Many marijuana-related businesses are experiencing difficulty accessing financial services and must operate all-cash operations,” the senators wrote. “Most banks and credit unions have been reluctant to provide financial services to marijuana-related businesses due to concerns their CAMELS supervisory rating will be penalized by examiners.” The senators added that with “clearer guidance” offered by regulators, financial institutions will be more likely to serve legal marijuana businesses, allowing them banking system access without “fear of repercussion.”