NCUA Instructs Examiners to Follow FinCEN Marijuana Guidance

Read the letter from NCUA Director of Examination and Insurance, Larry Fazio here.

In a development expected to offer Washington credit unions some assurance regarding banking legal marijuana businesses, the Washington Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Friday released a July 18 letter from NCUA instructing examiners to follow the FinCEN guidance. The letter is from the Director of Examination and Insurance, Larry Fazio.

“We trust this gives you some comfort that examiners will be looking at your compliance with the BSA for marijuana-related businesses the same way they have always examined for compliance with BSA with non marijuana-related businesses,” said Scott Jarvis, DFI director, and Linda Jekel, director of credit unions in a joint letter to the CEOs of Washington credit unions.

The DFI also released the Washington Liquor Control Board’s (WSLCB) slide presentation detailing the agency’s approach to regulating the newly legalized marijuana industry.

The DFI previously provided similar examiner guidance that applies to state chartered financial institutions and has been working closely with the WSLCB, Treasury, NCUA and other key stakeholders on regulating the banking of marijuana business.

There is broad agreement from law enforcement, regulatory agencies and others that the lack of financial services to legally licensed marijuana entities creates safety concerns, as all-cash businesses could be criminal targets. To date only two credit unions have announced publically that they will be serving these businesses.

Oregon voters will consider a recreational marijuana initiative this November. The ballot initiative was certified on July 22.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225, lheider@nwcua.org.

Posted in Compliance News, NCUA.