Cannabis industry access to banks could benefit greater community, credit union CEO says

Cannabis industry access to banks could benefit greater community, credit union CEO says


By:  Kelsey Christensen

EUGENE, Ore. - Some banks are hopeful to work with local marijuana shops after the U.S. House of Representatives passed the SAFE Banking Act Wednesday.

The bill would allow banks to work with the cannabis industry, which mostly deals with cash due to strict federal laws.

CEO of Northwest Community Credit Union, John Iglesias, says it started working with the hemp industry last year after lawmakers passed the Hemp Farming Act.

He's hopeful working with the marijuana industry would have the same benefits, meaning public safety for the industry not having to deal with mass amounts of cash.

“That opened the way for us to do this, and support our communities and help them bring those monies into safe places safe harbor, if you will,” Iglesias said.

He says the bill would also allow the credit union to increase its loans to members. With more than 50 percent of its members living in low income areas, he calls the bill a benefit for the community.

“The more liquidity, the more we have available assets to be able to lend definitely helps to support our effort to serve the under-served,” he said.

The Safe Banking bill is now headed for the Senate.

It’s unclear how it will be handled in the GOP-led Senate.

According to Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley's office, the Chair of the Senate Banking Committee says he would like to hold a vote by the end of the year.