California trade group offers marijuana banking services through credit union

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The California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA) on Tuesday unveiled a new partnership with North Bay Credit Union under which CCIA-member marijuana companies can obtain an array of financial services.

According to a news release, CCIA’s roughly 400 member businesses will “qualify for membership in the credit union and access to banking services such as checking accounts, online bill payment, wire transfers, and ACH processing.”

CCIA members can also join the credit union as individuals.

The North Bay Credit Union, based in Santa Rosa, has “over $100 million in assets and offers a full range of loans, including mortgages, vehicle loans, home equity loans, agricultural loans and private student loans,” according to the release.

The credit union has been working with marijuana companies for several years.

However, when North Bay initially announced in early 2019 that it was working with California cannabis businesses, it was quickly overrun with requests for services.

A lack of access to traditional banking services has long been one of the biggest business obstacles for state-legal marijuana companies, and efforts to solve the problem have remained elusive.

Though hundreds of banks nationwide already work with cannabis companies, they simply don’t advertise their willingness to do so, given that marijuana remains federally illegal.