September 03, 2019

NCUA's Hood: Hemp legalization is 'a significant step forward'

Rodney HoodNCUA Board Chairman Rodney Hood expanded on the NCUA's recently published interim guidance allowing federally insured credit unions to provide certain financial services to legally operating hemp business in an op-ed in the Lexington Herald Leader.

"The decision to legalize hemp production represents a significant step forward that will make a real difference in rural communities," wrote Hood.

The guidance - developed at the request of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., - was given in the form of a regulatory alert to update credit unions about recent changes in federal law and regulation related to hemp.

"Financial services products are like oxygen: Industries and entrepreneurs need them to survive," noted Hood.  "Entrepreneurship is hard enough without creating obstacles that lock businesses out of the financial system."

Looking towards the future, Hood indicated that the agency looks forward to "the USDA’s forthcoming regulatory framework for hemp production."

"The department has indicated these rules will be in place in time for the 2020 planting season," he added.  "After the USDA releases its regulatory framework, you can count on the NCUA to quickly issue guidance for credit unions that incorporates these new rules and any other noteworthy developments in this exciting new industry."

NAFCU has resources available for credit unions on hemp banking, including an article in the latest edition of NAFCU's Compliance Monitor, which discusses the background on legalizing industrial hemp and how credit unions that provide services to marijuana-related businesses could be impacted by recent changes.