Study: Near-Unanimous Support for CUs in Oregon, Changing Attitudes Toward Marijuana Banking

Jointly conducted by LT Public Relations and DHM Research, the survey offers multiple key findings for Oregon credit unions interested in serving the growing industry.

Graphic courtesy of LT Public Relations.

Portland-based LT Public Relations, in partnership with DHM Research, released the findings of a study last week that found 91 percent favorability of credit unions in Oregon, while also diving deeper into the evolving world of marijuana banking.

Conducted in mid-November, the study sought to define public attitudes related to banking, marijuana, and what it would mean if their credit union began serving legal marijuana businesses.

According to Casey Boggs of LT Public Relations, the study can serve as a key reputational guide for credit unions looking to engage in the space.

“Those surveyed were not only okay with it, but they had a favorable impression of those credit unions that offer deposits to the marijuana industry,” Boggs said. “It was more of a temperature gauge of the members out there. One takeaway is that the reputational issue isn’t as large as it has been perceived to be.”

“The numbers here are pretty supportive of the industry at large, and of credit unions, and the marriage of the two seems to be a non-issue,” he added.

According to the study, 43 percent reported that the decision of their bank or credit union would not change their views, and 44 percent said their impressions would improve because of serving marijuana-related businesses in Oregon.

Public safety was another concern, with 81 percent responding positively to the argument that a “lack of access to banking services and the resulting dependency on cash, make marijuana businesses targets of crime and violence that can spread to their local neighborhoods.”

Click here for more on the study.

Next steps on federal guidance

The study was also conducted before the selection of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as Attorney General-designee by President-elect Donald Trump. Sessions has been a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization at the federal level, leaving many advocates in a holding pattern.

Sessions has yet to indicate his willingness to continue the current guidelines issued by the Department of Justice in 2013 allowing states to regulate marijuana individually.

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222, ehorvath@nwcua.org.