WBA was well-represented at the recent WBA Washington Summit held in conjunction with the ICBA Capital Summit when seventeen WBA members lobbied Congress on a variety of critical banking issues. Bankers asked Congress to support and pass bipartisan legislation H.R. 1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019. This legislation would allow banks to serve cannabis-related businesses in states where the activity is legal and clarify that handling proceeds from their legitimate transactions is not money laundering and does not violate federal law. It requires federal banking regulators to provide explicit, clear, and uniform expectations regarding the treatment of all cannabis-related accounts. The bill also specifies that a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) is not required solely because a transaction involves proceeds from a legal state cannabis business.

Members reminded Congress that AML/BSA compliance structure has not changed since 1970, even though banking law enforcement and technology have changed dramatically. One of the main talking points revolved around the current $10,000 threshold for filing Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs). The threshold has not been changed since it was adopted in 1970. If adjusted using the Consumer Price Index, the threshold today would be $63,000. A seasoned customer exemption, within parameters to be set by Treasury, would also help reduce excessive CTR filings, making it easier to spot critical information.

WBA members highlighted the differences between banks and credit unions and asked Representatives and Senators to support the Access to Better Credit (ABC) Act that would exempt from income tax revenues from Agricultural and small business loans. 

For an inside look at the event, check out the latest Rose on the Road: Washington D.C. - May 2019 - Edition.

Issues:

  • Modernize Anti-money Laundering/Bank Secrecy Act laws
  • Cannabis Banking (SAFE Act)
  • A national data security and privacy standard
  • Level the tax playing field with credit unions and farm credit
  • Delay and study Current Expected Credit Loss standard (CECL)
  • Continue work on regulatory reform

Highlights of the 2019 ICBA Capital Summit:

  • House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on cannabis banking and housing finance reform
  • Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) on housing finance reform and data security
  • Congressman Bryan Steil addressed Wisconsin members at a Monday dinner to discuss his experience as a new Member of Congress