Washington, D.C. (Sept. 16, 2019)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) and 43 state banking associations wrote to House Congressional leadership urging them to move swiftly to schedule floor consideration of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act of 2019 (SAFE Banking Act, H.R. 1595). The SAFE Banking Act would create a safe harbor for financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses (CRBs) and ancillary businesses that serve them in states where cannabis is legal.
The current conflict between state and federal law has created increasingly “significant legal and compliance concerns” for banks, which has led to “curtailed access to the traditional banking system for CRBs and forced them to operate mostly in cash,” the organizations wrote.
A safe harbor would extend to providing banking services to many ancillary businesses as well, such as landlords, accountants and utilities providers that serve CRBs in states where cannabis is legal and may be difficult to identify. It would also avoid a legal and regulatory conundrum for even those banks that choose not to serve CRBs directly, the letter continues.
Notably, ICBA was the first national banking trade association to support the SAFE Banking Act and joins its 43 state affiliates urging Congress to act expeditiously to advance this critical legislation as soon as possible.
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. With more than 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 750,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in five U.S. counties. Holding more than $5 trillion in assets, nearly $4 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.