Federal credit union regulator espouses hands-off marijuana policy

Credit unions in state-legal markets won’t risk punishment for providing services to marijuana-related businesses as long as they follow strict banking regulations, a federal credit union regulator said.

“It’s a business decision for the credit unions if they want to take the deposits,” National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) chair Rodney Hood told the Credit Union Times.

But Hood said credit unions that do so must comply with all banking regulations, including filing suspicious activity reports that help monitor and prevent money laundering.

NCUA is an independent federal agency created by the U.S. Congress that regulates federal credit unions and insures their deposits.

Hood told the Credit Union Times that Congress could eliminate uncertainty by descheduling marijuana, and bills have been introduced to do just that.

Congress also is considering the SAFE Banking Act, which would offer financial institutions that serve lawful cannabis-related businesses protection from federal punishment.

Meanwhile, a number of local credit unions such as the Maps Credit Union in Oregon are serving legal marijuana-related businesses.

Rachel Pross, chief risk officer of Maps, told congressional lawmakers the credit union believes serving the industry helps enhance community safety “by removing large amounts of cash from the streets of our cities.”

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