With marijuana still illegal under federal law and the SAFE Banking Act stalled in Washington, much of the cannabis industry has struggled to find proper financial services. Merchants & Marine Bank, a century-old Mississippi-based institution with assets of $700 million, has launched CannaFirst Financial — the first banking division in state to serve cannabis businesses.
Merchants & Marine Bank is a Mississippi-chartered community bank serving the Gulf South region. Founded in 1899, the Pascagoula, Miss.-based financial institution is among the growing number of small credit unions and state-chartered banks who have begun dipping their toes into the cannabis industry. Until marijuana is federally declassified as a Schedule 1 drug, as President Joe Biden’s has called for, cannabis business can still only turn to state-chartered banks who are not members of the Federal Reserve System.
The bank plans to address the needs of cannabis businesses for secure transactions above and beyond the cash-and-carry scenarios many have been forced into by regulations. CannaFirst will serve clients in platform integration, online and mobile banking, cash transport and treasury solutions.
“Merchants & Marine Bank has been a dedicated partner for our regions’ business owners for more than 100 years,” said Clayton Legear, president and CEO of Merchants & Marine Bank. “You achieve a legacy of that nature by paying attention to the changing dynamics of the communities that you serve — making banking services readily available to entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of new opportunities in the marketplace.”
CannaFirst plans to serve to a wide-range of cannabis-based business owners, including dispensaries, cultivators, testing labs, wholesalers and retailers. The businesses will be given access to established accounts, transaction and deposit platforms, money transport and digital banking.
“Legally certified Cannabis-based businesses should not be denied access to the same banking services that other industries receive with little to no hassle,” said Jeff Trammell, Chief Risk and Strategy Officer for Merchants & Marine Bank. “These business owners are being asked to adhere to regulation that is, in some cases, still in limbo, and for that they need qualified banking experts to help them achieve compliance.”Advertisement
For more information regarding services at CannaFirst Financial, reach out to CannaFirst Director of Sales, Jon Parker, via phone at 228-471-4153, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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