The Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee passed the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and state league-supported Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act this week with a 14-9 vote.
The bill would provide a safe harbor for financial institutions and employees serving legal cannabis-based businesses.
“We thank the committee for moving forward on this important legislation to bring consistency and common-sense to the intersection of banking regulation and legal cannabis businesses,” said CUNA Deputy Chief Advocacy Officer for Federal Government Affairs Jason Stverak. “This bill will allow credit unions to lawfully serve these businesses and addresses the serious public safety issue of forcing these businesses to deal in only cash.”
A bipartisan group of senators — including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. — introduced the bill last week. It is an updated version of the CUNA and California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues-supported SAFE Banking Act, which was introduced in both chambers earlier this year and passed by the House seven times in previous congresses.
The Leagues will keep credit unions notified on any future movement with the SAFER Banking Act.
Background and Context
CUNA wrote bill sponsors in support of the legislation this past week.
The SAFER Banking Act would offer narrowly targeted federal protections for credit unions and other financial institutions accepting deposits, extending credit, or providing payment services to an individual or business engaged in cannabis related commerce in states where such activity is legal with a safe harbor, so long as they are compliant with all other applicable laws and regulations.
It also provides a safe harbor to credit unions and employees who are not aware if their members or customers are involved in cannabis businesses.
Co-sponsors of the bill include Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Steve Daines (R-MT), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ).