NCUA provides needed clarity for CUs serving hemp businesses

August 19, 2019

Under new interim guidance released today by the National Credit Union Administration, federally insured credit unions can provide certain financial services to legally operating hemp businesses. The move comes on the heels of a request for clarification by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“We appreciate that Chairman Hood and Majority Leader McConnell recognized the need for this guidance on how credit unions can serve hemp businesses. This has been an area of interest for credit unions since Congress legalized hemp at the federal level, and we believe this guidance will help alleviate concerns that may have existed,” said CUNA Chief Advocacy Officer Ryan Donovan.

NCUA will issue additional guidance once upcoming regulations and guidelines are approved by the Department of Agriculture. Hemp, defined as cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC, was legalized at the federal level as part of the 2018 Farm Bill.

In a closely related issue, Chairman Hood earlier this month also stated that the NCUA would not sanction credit unions serving cannabis businesses in states where it has been legalized.

While CUNA takes no position on the legalization or decriminalization of cannabis, it supports credit unions’ efforts to serve their members. CUNA has long called on Congress to provide protections for credit unions that serve such businesses in states where it is legal, citing the benefits to public safety such services afford communities. Last month, Rachel Pross, Chief Risk Officer for Maps Credit Union testified before the Senate Banking Committee on the need for the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow credit unions to do just that.