Those guidelines basically turn bank staff into auditors, Hallman said. She said cannabis banking accounts can never have a penny not accounted for at any given time, and reporting is incredibly arduous.
„It takes a lot of time and software to really be able to keep up with it like we need to,” Hallman said, „and at least right now we’re not in the position that we can pour those kinds of dollars into software (and staff).”
Hallman said she is sorry that even after charging fees, the cost burden of continuing to serve cannabis-connected clients necessitated Encentus' departure from the industry.
„It’s just we cannot financially continue to do it. We’re sorry, but we are held responsible for keeping our financial institution in good standing.”
Abaca, a financial technology company based in Arkansas, works with banks that want to serve the cannabis industry. The company partners with a state-chartered bank to offer deposit accounts and other financial services to cannabis businesses in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Abaca handles the compliance and online banking interface for the banks it works with, and provides dispensaries the ability to take electronic payments.
„Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to hear of a bank or credit union that has to sever its ties with the cannabis industry,” Abaca CEO Dan Roda told the Tulsa World. „Banking cannabis properly is labor intensive, and the cost of compliance can be prohibitively high without the right tools.”
This week the U.S. House passed a bill seeking to ease the industry’s problems with banking access. Its future in the Senate is unclear.
The bill would allow businesses legitimately operating under state laws to access loans, lines of credit and other banking services, while sheltering financial institutions from prosecution for handling marijuana-linked money. However, Roda and Hallman said it won’t be a panacea for cannabis-connected businesses.