ICBA Press Release Banner 2020

As Senate Banking Committee meets, previous ICBA polling shows bipartisan support for policy change

Washington, D.C. (May 11, 2023) — The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) today is reiterating its strong support for bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would establish a safe harbor from federal sanctions for financial institutions that serve cannabis-related businesses in states where cannabis is legal.

With the Senate Banking Committee meeting today to discuss cannabis banking challenges, an ICBA poll conducted by Morning Consult last year found 65% of voters support the policy, with 71% of voters agreeing it would reduce the risk of robbery and assault at cannabis-related businesses and 55% saying it would support underserved communities.

Introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Reps. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act would enhance public safety and address regulatory compliance concerns by opening the traditional banking system to cannabis-related businesses. Similar legislation has passed the House seven times.

“The conflict between state and federal law has created legal uncertainty for community banks, inhibited access to the banking system for legal cannabis-related businesses, and created serious public safety concerns,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “As the first national banking trade group to support the SAFE Banking Act and to testify before Congress on its behalf, ICBA urges lawmakers to pass this bill to enhance public safety and address regulatory compliance concerns."

Legal uncertainty has forced cannabis-related businesses to operate mostly in cash, which presents a significant public safety risk. The bipartisan SAFE Banking Act would help eliminate this risk in states that have legalized cannabis for medical or recreational use. In these states, federal banking regulators would not be permitted to threaten or limit a bank’s deposit insurance, downgrade a loan, prohibit or discourage the provision of banking services, or take any other prejudicial action on banks solely for serving a cannabis-related business.

ICBA expressed its strong support for the reintroduction of the SAFE Banking Act in recent letters to the House and Senate co-sponsors. More information on ICBA’s support for a cannabis banking safe harbor is available on its website.

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.

With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks employ nearly 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding $5.8 trillion in assets, $4.8 trillion in deposits, and $3.8 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers' dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA's website at www.icba.org.