news.cuna.org/articles/115807-cuna-backed-safe-banking-act-passes-house-financial-services-cmte

CUNA-backed SAFE Banking Act passes House Financial Services Cmte

March 28, 2019

The House Financial Services Committee passed the CUNA-supported Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act (H.R. 1595) Thursday by a bipartisan vote of 45-15. The bill would provide a safe harbor for financial institutions serving legal cannabis-related businesses.

“We thank the House Financial Services Committee for advancing the SAFE Banking Act, and for taking the time to hear from credit union and other witnesses during its consideration of the bill,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “Regardless of one’s feeling of legalization or decriminalization of cannabis, CUNA and others have demonstrated that the current status quo for these businesses is a public safety concern and will remain so if these businesses cannot access mainstream financial services.”

Specifically, H.R. 1595 would:

  • Offer narrowly targeted federal protections for credit unions and other financial institutions accepting deposits, extending credit, or providing payment services to an individual or business engaged in cannabis related commerce in states where such activity is legal with a safe harbor, so long as they are compliant with all other applicable laws and regulations; and
  • Provides safe harbor to credit unions and their employees who are not aware if their members or customers are involved in this business.

CUNA witness Rachel Pross, chief risk officer at Maps CU, Salem, Ore., testified before the House Financial Services subcommittee on consumer protection and financial institutions in February about the importance of allowing these legal businesses to access financial services.

That hearing featured several stories from subcommittee members about cannabis businesses and personnel being targeted because of the large amounts of cash present. 

During the three-day House Financial Services Committee markup, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) introduced an amendment to the Consumers First Act (H.R. 1500) today that would have created a commission to oversee the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) instead of the current model which has the bureau led by a single director.

While Luetkemeyer withdrew the amendment before the House Financial Services Committee could vote on it, CUNA's Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan thanked the Congressman.

"We appreciate Rep. Luetkemeyer's continued support for a commission to run the CFPB. CUNA has long called for the creation of just such a leadership structure, and will continue to engage with Rep. Luetkemeyer, Chairwoman Maxine Waters, and other lawmakers on this important issue," Donovan said.