December 03, 2019
Financial Regulators Issue New Pro-Hemp Banking Guidance
We are excited to report that thanks to your advocacy, and the leadership of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), four federal banking regulatory agencies – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network – joined by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors — issued joint guidance confirming the legal status of hemp and the requirements for banks providing financial services to businesses.
Despite the 2018 US Farm Bill clearly permitting financial transactions in the hemp industry, many banks and other financial institutions have been slow to participate, blaming their fear of the risk of federal regulatory crackdowns. Today’s guidance removes much of that concern, such as clarifying that banks do not have to file suspicious activity reports for customers solely because they are engaged in the growth or cultivation of hemp. The new guidance also outlines how the requirements for hemp businesses under the Bank Secrecy Act are different from marijuana businesses.
To be clear, today’s guidance does NOT require banks or financial services companies to engage with hemp businesses, nor is there any specific mention of hemp-derived CBD or businesses that engage in that commerce. Full passage of the pending SAFE Banking Act is still critical to further open up hemp and CBD commerce to financial institutions and credit card companies.
However, it is yet another big step forward, and a demonstration that YOUR advocacy matters, ensuring that our bipartisan congressional friends such as Senators McConnell and Wyden continue to have our industry’s backs.
Please help us get to the finish line by contacting your US Senators today, urging them to support the SAFE Banking Act. When we raise our voices, we win.