Removing Barriers Blog

Committee Passes CUNA-Supported Legislation – H.R. 1595, SAFE Banking Act
Posted March 28, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

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

Prior to the Committee’s mark-up, CUNA joined with the American Bankers Association (ABA) to send a letter in support of the bill as both entities are committed to serving the financial needs of their communities.  

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, OR, 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. 

“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.  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.”  - Jim Nussle, President/CEO