January 27, 2015

Oregon Bank Will Not Work With Colorado Cannabis Industry Afterall

January 27, 2015
marijuana cash industry banking

marijuana cash industry bankingMBank, a financial institution from Oregon, made headlines last week when they announced that they would be servicing Colorado’s marijuana industry. MBank had already been working with Oregon’s cannabis industry and Washington’s, and appeared to be making the bold move of working with Colorado marijuana business owners as well. In a quick change of policy, this week MBank announced that the would actually have to pass on the opportunity with Colorado companies, which were very eager to get bank accounts with MBank. Per The Cannabist:

The Oregon community bank that a week ago openly welcomed Colorado marijuana industry customers has changed its mind, publicly saying it doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle the overwhelming response for service.

But people familiar with the move say the retreat was pressed by federal banking regulators who stepped in late last week to tell MBank executives that crossing several states to work with an industry that remains illegal under federal law was simply too risky.

“Following national press, the volume of inquiries in Oregon, Washington and Colorado has been so overwhelming that we don’t currently have the infrastructure to adequately support all these customers,” MBank CEO Jef Baker said Monday. “Colorado is the farthest from our market area and the most difficult to provide the quality customer service to.”

Did the bank change course because of ‘infrastructure’? I don’t think so, because then instead of saying they don’t have the means to service the industry, there would have been some statement by the bank that they will be able to do so in the near future. But instead they made it sound like they can’t do it, and won’t do it. When was the last time you heard of a bank, with overwhelming demand from customers, not accepting accounts because of infrastructure reasons? Definitely sounds more like there was some outside pressure…


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