Story by Michael Hagar
One of the biggest hurdles facing businesses in the cannabis industry is how to deal withmoney. Currently, very few banks and credit unions have been open to accepting revenue from businesses involved in the cannabis industry.
Originally created to serve the Olympia Brewing Company by Ted McGill in 1955, O Bee Credit Union has “... a proud history of offering financial services to the underserved.” What started off as a “bank of beer” has now become a “bank of bud,” which is reflected in their new marijuana banking slogan, “Let’s be buds.” Over the weekend at the Imperious Expo + Directory we at CannaBiz Journal stopped by their booth to learn about new cannabis banking options from representatives Amanda Jackson and Jeannie Woodrow.
O Bee’s new cannabis accounts function pretty much the same as any normal business bank account and are open to Washington state residents and most marijuana businesses. With these accounts you can deposit and withdraw funds in the form of cash or check and use a check or debit card to make purchases as usual. Another feature offered is a courier service that will safely transport cash between your business(es) and O Bee locations via armored car. Considering the large volume of cash being generated by businesses in the cannabis industry, having access to safe transportation services can provide peace of mind. There are no annual fees associated with these accounts since they use debit cards rather than credit cards, but a monthly service charge is applied to the business account itself. Other normal credit union fees still apply and accounts are protected with NCUA insurance. Mobile banking option is also available.
Toward the end of our discussion, we learned why the marijuana business accounts pay monthly services charges. As you may have guessed, a lot of compliance is involved with servicing the cannabis banking industry and these monthly fees are used to ensure that members stay within their compliance program. Currently, fewerthan a handful of financial institutions welcome the cannabis industry, and O Bee Credit Union is making a name for themselves as one of the first. For more detailed information on O Bee’s new marijuana banking program, please visit your local branch, go to their website at www.obee.com/buds, or call (800) 642-4014 to talk to a Marijuana Specialist.