Washington, D.C. (March 28, 2019)
—Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey issued the following statement on today’s House Financial Services Committee 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 thank the House Financial Services Committee 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 policy for ICBA, which has been advocating passage of the SAFE Banking Act since the last Congress.
“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 will continue working with Congress to advance this legislation in the House and Senate.”
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. With more than 52,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 760,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in five U.S. counties. Holding more than $4.9 trillion in assets, $3.9 trillion in deposits, and $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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