US: More banks report working with cannabis businesses

The number of banks that report working with cannabis businesses ticked up again near the end of 2021, according to newly released federal data.

It’s not clear if the increase is related to congressional moves to pass a bipartisan cannabis banking reform bill, but the figures from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) signal that financial institutions continue to feel more comfortable servicing businesses in state-legal markets.

As of September 30, 2021, there were 755 banks and credit unions that had filed requisite reports saying they were actively serving cannabis clients. That is up from 706 in the previous quarter and from a previous peak of 747 in late 2019.

While there’s 2014 FinCEN guidance in place meant to help financial institutions navigate the space, lawmakers want to enact clear, statutory protections. And that would be accomplished through bipartisan legislation known as the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act that’s cleared the House in some form six times now.

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