The National Credit Union Administration has issued guidance allowing credit unions to serve hemp businesses, noting that the plant has been federally legal since last year. The guidance does outline “risks” involved in serving hemp businesses, including money laundering and ensuring the company is state-legal.
The agency said that the guidelines could change after the U.S. Department of Agriculture issues regulations for hemp and credit unions need “first be familiar with any other federal and state laws and regulations that prohibit, restrict, or otherwise govern these businesses and their activity.”
NCUA Chairman Rodney E. Hood said that hemp is providing “exciting new opportunities for rural communities” and that the guidance “keeps with the mission of the nation’s cooperative credit system to serve people who have been overlooked and underserved.”
“Many credit unions have a long and successful history of providing services to the agriculture sector. My expectation is that credit unions will thoughtfully consider whether they are able to safely and properly serve lawfully operating hemp-related businesses within their fields of membership.” – Hood, in a statement
The guidance comes as many hemp business operators continue to report they are denied access to many traditional financial services or must pay exorbitant fees to access services. A federal bill to explicitly allow cannabis businesses access to financial services – the SAFE Banking – was granted a hearing by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs in July but has not moved to the floor for a vote.
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