Credit Unions Issued New Guidance On Serving Hemp-Related Businesses
The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has issued a new Frequently Asked Questions memo to federally insured credit unions in regards to servicing hemp-related businesses.
In August 2019, the NCUA issued NCUA Regulatory Alert, 19-RA-02, Serving Hemp Businesses, to provide interim guidance related to the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill). The new memo’s purpose is to provide additional information for credit unions that are serving, or considering serving, legal hemp-related businesses, as they, too, have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like 19-RA-02, this letter is advisory and provides no new expectations or requirements for credit unions.
It is important that credit unions stay current with the federal, state and Native American tribal laws and regulations that apply to any hemp-related businesses they serve. The information in this letter is not an interpretation of the USDA’s interim final rule or other applicable federal or state laws, and does not provide definitive guidance related to the various legal requirements applicable to credit unions that want to provide financial services to hemp-related businesses. The inclusion or exclusion of various matters does not signify their importance.
Lawful hemp businesses provide exciting new opportunities for rural communities, and credit unions should carefully consider whether they can safely and properly serve lawfully operating hemp-related businesses within their fields of membership. To that end, and as described in this letter, credit unions must be aware of the federal, state, and Native American tribal laws and regulations that apply to any hemp-related businesses they serve, as well as the complexities and risks involved.
The NCUA encourages credit unions that are serving, or considering serving, hemp-related businesses to review all available information related to this evolving industry. As more information becomes available, the NCUA will continue to provide additional guidance.