A lack of regulatory clarity has Wisconsin bankers cautious about lending to hemp businesses.
Despite the federal government’s decision to reclassify hemp, leaders in the banking industry continue to have questions about how they can interact with potential customers who make money off the crop. Scott Birrenkott, the assistant director of legal for the Wisconsin Bankers Association, said members regularly seek resources to understand hemp as a commodity.
In December, a WBA report showed that just 17% of 95 Wisconsin banking executives surveyed said their company would actively seek to provide loans to industrial hemp farmers or processors in Wisconsin if the 2018 Farm Bill changes the federal view of hemp.
The WBA found similar results when the organization asked whether the executives thought industrial hemp would provide enough money to stabilize revenue streams for Wisconsin farmers.
Birrenkott said he thinks bankers’ views have warmed up to the industry since that survey, and they want to work with customers. But, he said, they’re also looking for answers from the different regulators to whom they answer.
Read more in the Milwaukee Business Journal.