Hemp farmers have had a notoriously hard time when it comes to finding reliable financial services. Many hemp farmers can share stories of being dropped from a bank with very little notice when their bank got skittish about hemp.
The reason for this, says West Town Bank's executive vice president and chief operating officer Melissa Marsal, is that bank regulators see hemp overall as high risk business, and therefore hemp companies get lumped together with other so-called high risk businesses like private ATMs, internet gambling and alcohol and tobacco.
Banks are required to perform extra due diligence when getting to know potential customers in these risky sectors, and many banks just don’t see the value in the extra work and have simply turned away from the hemp industry.
The banking and hemp industries are patiently waiting for the SAFE Banking Act to pass Congress, which would make it a whole lot easier for everyone involved.
In this interview, Marsal talks about her experience working with hemp farmers and the things hemp farmers have had to resort to in lieu of reliable banking. She talks about what hemp farmers need to consider when looking for a bank, and what kinds of questions they should be prepared to answer when they’re in discussions with a bank.
West Town Bank
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