WASHINGTON–Five federal agencies, including NCUA, have responded to a letter from Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) that sought clarification on banking hemp businesses, such as those that manufacture or sell CBD-related products.
The responses, first reported by Marijuana Moment, each recognize that hemp was legalized through the 2018 Farm Bill—meaning the rules governing how financial institutions interact with these businesses have changed, the publication stated.
In addition to NCUA, the letters were sent by the Federal Reserve, FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and Farm Credit Administration (FCA) and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)—and varied with regard to what the agencies said they were actively doing, or plan to do, to clear up remaining confusion within the financial sector, Marijuana Moment noted.
In NCUA’s response, Chairman Rodney Hood wrote, “I share your concern that hemp farmers and processors may lack access to the financial services system. Full access to the system will better enable these farmers and processors across the country to make investments in their businesses and create jobs.
“Unfortunately, until the Department of Agriculture completes their regulations and guidelines for this program, the uncertainty for financial institutions will likely remain,” Hood continued. “The NCUA is working on possible future guidance to financial institutions in this area, and we are consulting with FinCEN and other federal banking agencies. Opening, closing, or declining a particular account is a business decision for the credit union.”
“Once we are able to provide more clarity, credit unions will be able to make more informed decisions,” Hood added. “As with any such business decision, credit unions should consider their objective, evaluate the risks, and determine their capacity to manage those risks.”