Washington, D.C. (April 19, 2021)—Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey issued the following statement on today’s bipartisan House passage of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1996). The bill would establish a safe harbor from federal sanctions for financial institutions 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 conflict between state and federal law has created legal uncertainty for community banks and inhibited access to the banking system for cannabis-related businesses. This has forced these businesses to operate mostly in cash, which presents a significant public safety risk.
“Introduced by House Financial Services Committee Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Chairman Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), the bipartisan SAFE Banking Act would help eliminate this risk in states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use.
“Similar legislation passed the House in 2019 but did not advance in the Senate. As the first national banking trade group to support the SAFE Banking Act and to testify before Congress on its behalf, ICBA continues urging senators to pass this bill to enhance public safety and address regulatory compliance concerns."
ICBA will press the Senate to follow this strong House vote and pass the SAFE Act.
The Independent Community Bankers of America creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.
With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5 trillion in assets, over $4.4 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.