Do you run a CBD business that needs certain banking services? If YES, here is a list of 10 banks that accept CBD businesses and give them loans.

With the cannabis industry gradually attracting more attention and entrepreneurs, there is a growing demand for CBD business loans. These loans provide the capital required for starting and developing businesses that depend on CBD (cannabidiol), the non-psychoactive compound present in cannabis plants.

It’s very challenging to acquire any type of funding to start or expand a cannabis-based business because marijuana remains federally prohibited. Until national decriminalization occurs, traditional lenders are basically not free to offer cannabis funding.

3 Types of Loans Available to CBD Businesses

a. It’s very important to state that there are various kinds of loans available to cannabis entrepreneurs. There are Bridge loans that are also called “gap financing”, “swing loans”, or “interim financing”. These are short-term loans a company can leverage on while awaiting permanent financing solutions.

These loans allow businesses to meet immediate financial obligations but they typically have high interest rates. These loans require collateral in most cases. The money can be used for rent, inventory, utilities, working capital, and other expenses that a business needs to cover quickly.

b. The second kind of CBD loan is known as a merchant cash advance. Merchant cash advance is technically not a loan. It is a funding that is advanced to a merchant based on upcoming credit card and business debit transactions. Cash advances are short-term funding solutions that can provide extra working capital to sustain a business through challenging financial situations but doesn’t provide a permanent funding source.

c. The third kind of CBD loan is called a Private/Alternative Loans. Non-bank lenders are the most common funding sources for CBD business loans and other types of weed loans commonly sought after within the cannabis industry. These private lenders all have their own requirements for applicants. It’s important to research these requirements before applying for a loan.

List of Banks That Accept CBD Businesses

Federal law enforcement and inconsistencies between state and federal laws are mainly to blame. This turbulence began with banks. Federal banks with a reputation to uphold are not so eager to tarnish their reputations and risk legal action by accepting cannabis companies as clients.

Many well-established companies, who have been riding the wave of cannabis’ popularity since legalization, found banking partners earlier on. Please note that this is not an attempt to endorse any one of the below. It is mainly for informational purposes only.

  1. Silicon Valley Bank

This bank’s overall commitment to innovation in its mission statement means that it will lower barriers of entry for entrepreneurs in areas where other banks won’t. More than likely, Silicon Valley Bank will provide CBD merchants its science and healthcare industry services, since the bank qualifies CBD as a wellness product. Also, they regularly publish a public policy report to inform government officials of what is needed to better serve their clients’ interests.

  1. Timberland Bank

Timberland Bank is known as one of the few banks that offer its services to the cannabis industry. Even so, it’s difficult to tell. Unlike its credit union counterparts, this Washington based bank doesn’t appear to advertise its involvement in the cannabis industry.

But according to Timberland’s SEC filings, the 22-branch bank which has been in operation since 1915 is definitely open for business. The files show that the bank’s operations with the industry may be responsible for an uptick in its business, but it also comes at the price of increasing service charges.

  1. Chase Bank

Chase Bank opened its business platform for CBD-related bank accounts, but will not offer its payment processing services just yet. More than likely, Chase will wait for the SAFE Banking Act or some other CBD financial services-enabling bill that will make the industry less precarious. Resourceful due to its size, Chase will also most likely wait for data to aggregate on what successful CBD companies look like in order to properly vet potential clients in the future.

  1. The Salal Credit Union

Salal credit union out of Seattle received thousands of calls when the news broke that they were accepting cannabis accounts. Largely working within the medical industry, Salal has opened around 300 cannabis accounts since 2014. They offer all the basic services, including tax services as well as insurance and even international wire transfers.

Salal’s regulations include the basic requirements of being licensed within the state, good credit, and no outstanding taxes. Salal requires 10 days to do the necessary background checks on a business, which is much longer than regular accounts, but they do provide services to both Washington and Oregon.

  1. North Bay Credit Union

North Bay Credit Union is one of the only American banking institutions publicly admitting to handling transactions for cannabis companies, which they do confidentially for companies located in areas north of San Francisco. The credit union limits the size of the deposits that these companies can make in order to manage their capital ratio. Still, North Bay Credit Union risks federal prosecution for handling these transactions — still illegal under federal law — but serves their clients in spite of those risks.

  1. The Numerica Credit Union

Numerica is renowned as one of the first financial institutions in the country to work with the industry, having opened cannabis accounts as early as 2014. Since then, they have opened more than 200 accounts. They offer all the basic services including wire transfers and direct-deposit for employees, but also have a team dedicated to cannabis business accounts.

Note that they only serve businesses within communities where Numerica branches operate, namely, the state of Washington.

So, if you’re looking to open an account from out of state (or even out of town) you won’t be able to access their services. Finally, they require businesses to be licensed and approved by their community – a roadblock many dispensaries have encountered.

  1. The MAPS Credit Union

Reports have it that MAPS opened its doors to the cannabis industry almost by accident. As the credit union’s VP of operations told the Statesman Journal, Maps discovered they had cannabis accounts in 2014, before the company even officially accepted them.

At that point, the Oregon credit union had to make a choice. So, they decided to stick with their customers and have opened more than 100 accounts ever since, but those accounts also come with some strings.

MAPS monitors every transaction closely and sets an annual inspection of their business, which is a mandatory part of maintaining an account. A failure to schedule that inspection on time can result in the closing of the account. All that extra work means that an account with MAPS costs a $250 application fee as well as another $250 annually.

  1. Partner Colorado CU

This Colorado credit union not only accepts cannabis accounts, its CEO postponed her retirement to set up a program to teach others in the industry how to do it. Partner began accepting canna-customers as of July 2017 through a program they call Safe Harbor.

The company’s CEO Sundie Seefried was on the verge of retirement when she discovered that most of the cannabis industry operates on cash. As a result, she decided to continue working with Partner and focused on providing assistance to businesses that want to leave cash behind.

How to Get Loans for a CBD Business and the Challenges to Expect

First, you have to understand that the 2018 Farm Bill did not fully legalize all forms of CBD nationwide. CBD can be derived from hemp, a non-psychoactive variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant. The main difference between hemp and marijuana is that hemp contains very little THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) (0.3%), the psychoactive component of marijuana.

This makes regulating hemp very tricky, since it is virtually identical to marijuana in appearance, smell, and even taste. When it comes to securing a business loan for a cannabis company there are some things to consider outside of the normal lending parameters.

Traditional lenders aren’t all-in just yet, so it usually requires non-traditional money and even with that, there are some things to consider. Note that even with hard money or asset-backed loans and the high interest rates that come with them, most lenders in this industry thread with enormous caution, even in states where it is legal.

In the current state of the economy, beggars can’t be choosers. If a cannabis company needs a loan, they must go where options exist, and it isn’t going to be the neighborhood bank down the street. Even the high-rate credit card processing backed loans are hard to secure, as some cannabis companies are having their merchant accounts shut down.

The CBD industry is just very new, so you have to be ready for limited options along with high fees and rates. There aren’t clear and defined laws and rules laid out that apply to everyone. Until that happens there will continue to be a shortage of funding and loan options for any business tied to cannabis.

There is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to production and availability in the CBD industry. There is very little upsides for a bank to lend to a cannabis company. Even at high rates there is still risk. Even though CBD containing no THC is legal, there are some states that will not allow it to be shipped to them.

So this is also a reason for concern. What happens if banks start lending more freely to CBD companies and then the government steps in and shuts some down for selling across borders? Then what?

Even though the perception is that CBD is legal everywhere, but there are still a lot of confusing details and circumstances. Big banks don’t want anything to do with it just yet. But, once it’s legal everywhere with no limitations and no stipulations, they are all going to want to get in on the action.

Also, although, banks and lenders have seen hundreds of thousands business plans, anything related to cannabis is new to them. It’s hard to underwrite a business loan when you don’t fully understand the business plan. Will these banks finally understand it and come up with more standard underwriting guidelines? Of course, but that will be until cannabis is fully legal and regulated.

Conclusion

The enormous amount of inconsistent information on cannabis business loans is difficult to digest. Unfortunately, for as much information there is to explain why cannabis business loans don’t exist, there are just as few opportunities to access cannabis business funding. But irrespective of how the industry is now, the surrounding legal intricacies around cannabis business loans are constantly shifting.

Joy Nwokoro