Developing Solutions for Cannabis Banking and Solving a Need for Nevada
In 2017, Nevada legalized the use and consumption of recreational marijuana. The legalization of marijuana in Nevada presented challenges because of the federal status of the industry. At the top of the list was how to safely “bank” the millions of dollars of legal cash-based commerce occurring in the economy.
Drawing from its long and successful history of providing services to industries and individuals who lack adequate access to quality financial services, Greater Nevada Credit Union delivered a safe, secure, and consistent banking experience for cannabis businesses.
The result was an innovative banking solution built with the industry-leading partners for cannabis businesses which streamlined systems, technology, and protocols to strictly adhere to the specific laws, regulations, and compliance demanded by the state of Nevada and the cannabis industry.
GNCU, along with business partners, have developed a custom and compliant cannabis banking program. The full-service solution includes a comprehensive suite of solutions from on-site cash management to attractive deposit account options. GNCU is proud of the level of detail we have created in the program. Our credit union only works with licensed and reputable cannabis-related businesses.
Handling the Cash Problem
Due to the current federal legal climate, Nevada’s cannabis-related businesses were essentially cut off from full access to the banking system. That situation created a variety of serious safety and security issues for those business owners, their employees, customers, and others with whom they conduct their business. Employees at these cannabis businesses were struggling with being paid in cash. These challenges made it harder for them to pay their rent, utilities, or other bills.
GNCU works with a compliant third-party solution to safely transfer and process cash.
More Solutions for Cannabis Businesses
In addition, we can help cannabis businesses accept debit cards, acquire loans, set up deposit accounts, write checks, run payroll, and pay taxes.
To learn more about how we help these legitimate businesses with their banking needs, watch the video below.
To see how GNCU can support your business, click here to reach out to our Commercial Services team.
Helping Your Employees Find a Financial Partner
When your business becomes a member of GNCU, your employees can also join as members too. As a member, your employees will experience the benefits of joining a not-for-profit member-owned institution. These include better rates on lending and savings, checking incentives, and access to value education and financial literacy resources. We will even partner to do programs at your business to make it easier for your employees to thrive outside of work. Click the button below to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About GNCU’s Cannabis Business Banking
GNCU is proud to offer a full range of financial services to cannabis-related businesses (CRBs) and their employees, including merchant services, personal checking, savings, credit cards, and home loans. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about how we deliver safe, secure, and consistent banking solutions.
How can GNCU service cannabis businesses while banks cannot?
According to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), credit unions may provide the customary range of financial services for business accounts to lawfully operate cannabis-related businesses within their fields of membership. In 2019, the NCUA encouraged credit unions to thoughtfully consider whether they can safely and properly serve these types of businesses.
Is the deposit account NCUA-insured?
Yes, CRB accounts are insured the same as a non-CRB business account, up to $250,000 per account owner, per institution, per ownership type.
How do CRBs deposit cash?
GNCU partners with a leading provider of cannabis banking solutions and consulting services for credit unions and banks. Together we have developed a custom and compliant cannabis banking program. The full-service provider includes a comprehensive suite of solutions from on-site cash management to attractive deposit account options. Our business partners are specially trained to discreetly pick up your cash and safely transport it to a secure storage facility.
What’s the difference between merchant services and banking solutions?
Merchant services refer to the ability of a business to accept debit and credit cards at the point of sale through a terminal. Just like how you buy your groceries or gas or any other non-cannabis card purchase. Unfortunately, due to cannabis still being classified as Schedule I, card providers like Mastercard and Visa will not allow traditional merchant services for cannabis operators. So, a consumer cannot go into a dispensary with their AmEx or Visa credit card and make the purchase. They must make the purchase using cash.
The banking solutions GNCU offers allow the operator to have a fully compliant, NCUA insured account in which they can conduct their normal business operations like writing checks to pay vendors, sending wires to pay investors, sending ACH payments to pay utilities, etc. If the operator has contracted with a CRB compliant ATM processor, they can accept their ATM settlements into their account as well.
What documents are required for me to complete an application?
Required documentation includes business formation documents (Articles of LLC/Incorporation/Partnership, IRS EIN Letter, Fictitious Firm Name filing), Income Statement, Balance Sheet, List of Products, List of Vendors/Suppliers, Copy of Marijuana License(s), Organizational Chart, Policy and Procedures Manual, Property Title/Lease, Tax Returns, ATM Agreement (if applicable), Merchant Processing Agreement (if applicable), and Certificate of Insurance.
How long does it take to get an account set up?
Once the applicant has provided all documentation requested through the Green Check Verified portal, the application will be reviewed and approved/declined within two business days. If approved, the account will be opened within the next business day.
Is there an initial deposit requirement?
To open a membership, there is a $10 requirement for the share savings account ($5 membership fee and $5 for the initial deposit) and only $1 for checking.
What’s the difference between direct and indirect Cannabis accounts? Does GNCU service both?
A direct account is for our CRBs that are license holders and touch the plant (dispensaries, cultivations, production, labs, transport, etc.).
An indirect account is for our CRBs who are not licensed and do not touch the plant but are engaged in cannabis-related business. A few examples of indirect CRBs could be an attorney or accountant with over 50% of the book being cannabis clients, a cannabis magazine who accepts payments from CRBs for advertising, a brand consultant, a packaging company, software and tech for cannabis platforms, etc.
What are the account fees and what do they cover?
While indirect accounts are subject to a $75 monthly fee only, direct accounts are subject to up to $750 monthly and up to 1.50% Deposit Activity Fees. Additional charges apply for cash logistics services through our partner.
How can I be assured my account won’t get shut down?
GNCU follows a complex set of guidelines and regulations stipulated by Federal agencies to ensure your account and our program are fully compliant. We are also regularly audited by external government agencies.
Can CRBs banking with GNCU process debit cards? What about credit cards?
Operators can (through one of the approved providers of PIN based debit) accept some debit card transactions through a virtual ATM.
Unfortunately, due to cannabis still being classified as Schedule I, card providers like Mastercard and Visa will not allow traditional merchant services for cannabis operators. So, a consumer cannot go into a dispensary with their AmEx or Visa credit card and make the purchase. Without an approved PIN based debit provider they must make the purchase using cash.
Ready to Learn More?
Click the button below to reach out to our Commercial Services team to see how GNCU can support your cannabis-related business.