ARVADA, Colo.—Safe Harbor Services, the CUSO of Partner Colorado CU, said it has launched a national education program of “best in class” cannabis banking solutions, which it said will help smooth the way for compliant banking in states entering the cannabis market.
“Legislators, regulators, financial institutions and service providers want to know the best methods to establish cannabis banking in their states to keep their communities safer and offer a viable banking option for legal cannabis businesses,” said Sundie Seefried, Safe Harbor Services chairman and CEO of Partner Colorado Credit Union and Safe Harbor Private Banking, in a statement. “After recently meeting with officials in Massachusetts and Michigan over several days, we realized the benefits of sharing our best practices to help other states navigate this new frontier.”
As CUToday.info reported earlier, Massachusetts is preparing to officially make the cannabis business legal, but no financial institutions in the state have agreed to service the industry.
The credit union noted Safe Harbor has served the banking needs of legal cannabis businesses, who otherwise were forced by federal laws to “conduct all transactions in cash, and bank approximately $100 million per month in cannabis-related funds that are validated, transparent and accountable.”
Currently, Safe Harbor serves 160 clients, which include over 200 dispensaries, 160 cultivations and 65 manufacturers, along with an additional 70 plus ancillary service providers, in the cannabis industry.
Why CUSO Was Created
The credit union said Safe Harbor Services was created to bridge the gap between cannabis-related businesses (CRBs) and financial institutions by sharing industry knowledge, banking program options and resources nationwide.
“We are uniquely positioned to expand the cannabis banking program nationally due to our real world knowledge and frontline experience,” said Safe Harbor Services Interim President Katrina Skinner. “We know how to listen and adapt our program to meet the needs of financial institutions interested in expanding their services to include CRBs. We help those credit unions and banks build a solid business case by assessing the risks and benefits of banking the cannabis industry.”
Seefried said Safe Harbor has created a process to help financial institutions proceed in a slow, methodical manner for the safety and soundness of their institutions, while removing the pain points in the process.
Seefried added the SHS business will meet breakeven targets in 2018.
Safe Harbor is working with financial institutions in five states on cannabis banking solutions and opportunities.