Washington, D.C (Sept. 25, 2019)—Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey issued the following statement on today’s House passage of the bipartisan Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595). The bill would establish a safe harbor from federal sanctions for financial institutions and ancillary companies that serve cannabis-related businesses in states where cannabis is legal.
“ICBA and the nation’s community banks applaud the House of Representatives for advancing legislation to enhance public safety and address regulatory compliance concerns by opening the traditional banking system to cannabis-related businesses. The cannabis-banking safe harbor is a high priority for ICBA—the first national banking trade group to support this legislation and to testify before a congressional committee on its behalf.
“The conflict between state and federal law on cannabis-related businesses has created significant legal and compliance concerns for financial institutions that could provide needed banking services to these companies. This uncertainty has forced cannabis-related businesses to operate mostly in cash, which presents a significant public safety risk. The bipartisan SAFE Banking Act would help eliminate this risk in states where cannabis is already legal.
“Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, and ICBA does not advocate its legalization. The SAFE Banking Act would apply solely to states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use.
“ICBA and community bankers nationwide will continue working with Congress to advance this legislation in the Senate.”
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 three 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.
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