Federal guidance offers clarity to this complex issue

MADISON – Four federal agencies issued a joint statement with guidance providing greater clarity on banks’ obligations related to hemp producers. This is essentially the first guidance offered by any of the federal banking regulators on the issue of hemp.
 
This action, which has been long sought after by the Wisconsin Bankers Association, makes clear that banks are not required to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) on hemp producers operating under an approved federal, state or tribal license or plan. The guidance also notes that bank customers are responsible for complying with regulatory requirements surrounding hemp, not the banks who serve those customers.
 
“This guidance is a great first step to adding clarity to a complex issue for the banking industry,” said Rose Oswald Poels, WBA President and CEO. “From a regulatory standpoint, Wisconsin’s banks now have a stronger foundation to work from in helping their hemp customers.”
 
WBA reminds the public and hemp farmers and producers alike that hemp is still a relatively new industry for everyone in Wisconsin. From a banking perspective, there are still questions about the crop including cost, price, yield, returns, contracts, and markets. As the industry grows, the data needed for Wisconsin bankers to make both depository and agricultural lending decisions will also increase and become easier to complete from both a regulatory and operational viewpoint.
 
Community banks continue to be dedicated to working with their customers to find ways to help their businesses grow. A Wisconsin bank is always the safest place for Wisconsin consumers and businesses to entrust their money.