Cannabis Account Requirements and Overview
North Bay Credit Union has been offering banking services to the cannabis industry since 2017. We offer NCUA insured business checking accounts, on-line access and mobile banking, electronic bill payments, ACH and wire transfers, debit cards and merchant processing services.
In our ongoing effort to adhere to the strict regulatory requirements surrounding banking services for the cannabis industry, we have partnered with several companies that can help us achieve the efficiency and standardization we need to be able to continue to serve the cannabis industry.
Our goal is to offer banking services in a completely transparent manner that will exceed the scrutiny of any legal or regulatory review. Should you receive approval for an account with us, here are the requirements for our cannabis accounts:
- Systems – we utilize various systems to help us monitor and reconcile sales activity to bank transactions. Once you are approved for an account with North Bay Credit Union, we will provide one-on-one training to use our system. Our system is integrated with MTRC and has the capability to tie-in to either your point-of-sale solution or your accounting software for all sales transactions.
- Cash Pick-Up Services – we require the use of armored car service to pick-up all cash as we do not allow cash to be brought into any of our branches. We require that 93% - 103% of ALL sales proceeds (cash, checks, wires, ACH payments) get deposited into your NBCU account once it is established. There is no minimum balance requirement. Part of our on-going due diligence is to ensure that we understand and can track ALL transactions running through these accounts and we do this by matching deposits and withdrawals with your sales activity. The armored car fees are debited from your NBCU account as a pass-through fee.
- Sweep Account – All accounts are required to have a balance on the last day of each month of no more than $350,000. Your account balance may exceed that amount during the month. We will assist in sweeping your excess funds to an overnight account at month end.
- North Bay Credit Union Membership – If your business is in Sonoma, Marin, Napa or Solano County, then you qualify for membership with NBCU as a local member of the community. However, for businesses located outside of the North Bay area, we have several ways you can qualify. If you are already a member of California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), your membership in that organization qualifies you for credit union membership. Or, you can join the Sonoma County Farm Bureau as another avenue for membership eligibility.
- Multiple Businesses – If your businesses share one EIN number, then you are welcome to run all transactions through one account. However, if you have multiple cannabis businesses, each with its own EIN, then you will need to open an account for each EIN.
- Account Fees – Monthly flat fees are assigned based on a risk assessment of the operations which considers such factors as ownership structure, transactional volume, number of locations, number of NBCU accounts, operating history, etc. The flat fee covers all services with the exception of armored car and wire transfers. There is a one-time non-refundable application fee of $1,000. Knowing that cannabis operators are often price-gouged, we will make every effort to keep your banking fees as low as possible. Please understand however that compliance costs are a necessary component of a regulator approved cannabis financial institution that will not arbitrarily shut down your account.
Once approved, you will be expected to comply with the following requirements:
- Allowing access to your Point of Sale (POS) system and your METRC key
- Arranging for cash pick-up by our armored car service-provider and providing the supporting invoices/documents to your Compliance Team 48 hours in advance of the cash pick-up;
- Providing 48 hours’ notice for all outgoing wires;
- Communicating all account changes within two business days (signers; investment raises; new locations, etc.);
- Ensuring your last day of the month account balance is NO greater than $350,000. We can help you manage this by setting up a sweep account with a third-party institution;
- Ensuring that your balance is enough on the last day of the month to cover your NBCU account fees.
Failure to comply with these requirements may result in account closure.
In addition to providing you with bank accounts for your cannabis business, we also have established relationships with vendor partners that many of our cannabis accounts have found to be extremely useful. We can introduce you to:
- ATM Provider – NBCU requires that all ATMs are serviced by a third party company, and we’d be happy to introduce you to an experienced ATM service provider;
- Cashless Payment Solutions (i.e. cashless ATMs) – If you are looking for solutions to reduce cash, we’d be happy to introduce you to a service provider;
- Payroll Companies – NBCU is processing for several cannabis payroll companies should you need those services;
- ACH Payment Processing - NBCU supports multiple cash-alternative payment solutions. If you are looking for a cashless way to process payments, we can introduce you to several solutions.
- Lending Partners - NBCU does not make loans to commercial enterprises but we work with others in the financial services industry who we can refer you to for your borrowing needs.
And finally, once your account is approved, we are happy to welcome your employees to North Bay Credit Union where they would be eligible for banking services with North Bay Credit Union under your business membership. We make it easy for them to sign-up online at: www.NorthBayCu.com. Additionally, we offer home mortgage loans and car loans to cannabis employees throughout California.
We strive to process account applications and open an account within 30 days of receiving the account application fee. Prior to submitting your request for an application please ensure you have all your documentation prepared (corporate organizational docs, financial statements and financial projections, tax returns, licensing information, lease agreements, insurance docs). Our ability to process your application is highly dependent on how well prepared you are. We are only accepting applications from pre-licensed entities if the corporate documentation is completed. We are not accepting applications from non-California entities.
We look forward to helping you process your cannabis transactions under normalized banking that promotes the saftey of your employees, your customers and the communities in which you operate.