“Marijuana?” We won’t touch it.” This statement is unrealistic. Whether you have a risk appetite to directly bank marijuana-related businesses or you prefer to avoid it, it’s here and you have decisions to make. The grocery store you’ve banked for 40 years now sells CBD oil; your physician is on the approved list for your state; your mortgage applicant works for a dispensary; and, your employees may now have legal prescriptions for medical marijuana. How are you identifying these activities and the associated risk? If your position is to exit any marijuana-related business customers, what does that mean for your portfolio or your liquidity position? Some institutions taking this posture are seeing a significant exodus of low-cost deposits, so it’s not solely a regulatory compliance issue.
Given the dichotomy between Federal and State rules, we are in a strange and often frustrating regulatory environment. While the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018 legalized hemp under shared State-Federal guidelines, it has added a layer of complexity to Marijuana-Banking Programs and the associated due diligence that must be performed to determine whether a “hemp” customer is operating legally.
Sterling has been following this industry closely. We are continually developing tools and providing educational materials to assist you in identifying, measuring, monitoring and managing the risk associated with banking (or not banking) marijuana-related businesses. Whether you need consultative advice or more hands-on assistance establishing your infrastructure, we offer a suite of customizable and comprehensive solutions.
- MRB Consultation: Utilize our Beacon service to gain unlimited access to our staff for timely, thoughtful and practical answers to your questions. Our team of experts can address a broad array of topics relating to regulatory compliance, BSA|AML programs and banking marijuana or hemp-related businesses. We cut through the legalese and regulatory citations to get you what you need to make informed decisions for sound risk management.
- MRB Risk Assessment: We have published a Marijuana-Related Banking Risk Assessment template for financial institutions to use. We understand the constraints of time and resources our clients grapple with, and we strive to continually develop tools to help you streamline your risk management processes. We work closely with our clients to develop a customized MRB Risk Assessment that, at its core, helps you determine whether you can – or should – bank MRBs. The Risk Assessment will provide a snapshot of the associated risks and drive an Action Plan that is designed to help you navigate the implementation of necessary additional controls to effectively manage your risk.
- MRB Policy: Also published for your use, our MRB Policy template is designed to provide a sound policy structure to reflect your specific risk appetite. Our staff can assist you in developing the policy from the ground-up based on your MRB Risk Assessment or review the adequacy of the policy you’ve established.
Regardless of the speed in which our government and Federal banking agencies move, this is an industry that is continually expanding and one that is inevitable. It is critical that you know how to effectively address and manage your risk, whether you are going to bank MRBs or steer clear. Let us be your guide.