Oregonians to banks: Marijuana clients are OK

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How can banks in Oregon improve their reputation? Serve cannabis clients.

That’s the finding of a survey by Portland-based LT Public Relations and DHM Research that suggests financial institutions could better their public standing by providing financial services to marijuana businesses.

Most banks in Oregon and nationwide reject cannabis clients, arguing that it will hurt their reputation to offer services to businesses that break federal law. Serving marijuana companies also could land banks and other financial institutions in legal hot water with regulators.

But 87% of the 800 Oregonians surveyed said they wouldn’t have a negative view of their bank if it served cannabis clients, Entrepreneur.com reported.

In fact, 44% said they would have an improved view of their bank if it served marijuana businesses, while only 12% of respondents said they would view a bank negatively if it provided services to a marijuana-related business.

Bank customers were also more likely to have negative views of banks that worked with big box stores, pharmaceutical companies, tobacco businesses and oil companies.

Among respondents 35 years old or younger, 88% said they held favorable views of the marijuana industry, while 62% said they would have a more favorable view of a bank that worked with the marijuana industry than one that didn’t.