When Washington state legalized the use of marijuana in 2014, O Bee Credit Union in Tumwater, Wash., initially decided not to serve marijuana-related businesses.
But when members started asking for cannabis banking services, O Bee changed course and introduced deposit accounts, debit cards, and some other services for these organizations. The credit union’s rationale: We serve the member, not the business.
Today, O Bee serves more than 200 cannabis-related businesses, and continues to expand its efforts.
“The one thing we will not do for them at this point is lending,” says O Bee President/CEO James Collins. “We look forward to doing that in the future when it's less murky on the legislative side.”
In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, recorded at the 2019 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, Collins explains the risks and challenges involved with cannabis banking, some of the operational pain points, and a few surprises that arose along the way.
Collins also is Credit Union Magazine’s humor columnist.