Bankers Association Welcomes Hemp Banking Regulations

The federal government this week released banking guidance for the finance industry related to hemp producers. The American Bankers Association says the guidance makes clear that banks are not required to file Suspicious Activity Reports on hemp producers operating under an approved federal, state or tribal license or plan. The guidance also states bank customers are responsible for complying with regulatory requirements, not the banks. The guidance came following an interim final rule in October from the Department of Agriculture, which provided a framework for how USDA will approve regulatory plans from states and tribes that wish to oversee hemp production, as well as a federal plan to license producers in areas without approved local plans. Federal regulators said they would issue further guidance after reviewing the USDA rule. While the 2018 farm bill reclassified hemp as a legal agricultural commodity, significant questions remained, and ABA encouraged regulators to provide additional clarity on banks’ ability to serve hemp producers and hemp-related businesses.