MADISON – PRESS RELEASE – Nearly 50% of bank respondents who are currently not banking hemp said they will extend services to hemp-related customers in 2020 according to a recent Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA) survey.
WBA’s annual Bank CEO Economic Conditions Survey asked three hemp-related questions in addition to more traditional economic inquiries. The responses highlighted that many Wisconsin banks have been working through the complex regulatory issue of hemp and are now better prepared to assist their customers.
“Wisconsin’s community bankers strive to help their customers and communities. The reality is that hemp is a very new and complex issue from both a regulatory and business viewpoint,” explained Rose Oswald Poels, WBA President and CEO. “It takes time to work through these complexities. Because there is no one-size-fits-all approach, each bank’s approach and timeframe will be different.”
It was only within the last month that federal regulators issued their first guidance for banks regarding hemp banking.
Thirty-eight percent of responding Wisconsin banks are currently accepting deposits from hemp-related businesses. In comparison, fewer banks, 15%, are lending to hemp-related businesses.
Some of the lack of participation by banks may be due to demand. Several participating bankers shared they haven’t had any customers request these services.
“Wisconsin continues to benefit from a very diverse banking industry which means consumers and businesses have the opportunity to find the banking relationship that is right for their unique needs,” said Poels. “We really encourage the public to keep reaching out to bankers until they find the right fit.”
There will be more banking opportunities for hemp-related businesses according to respondents. Forty-eight percent of bankers currently not offering services will do so in 2020.
Banks aren’t the only businesses working through the issue of hemp. As a relatively new industry, there are still questions about the crop including cost, price, yield, returns, contracts and markets. As the industry grows, the data needed for businesses and bankers alike to make decisions will increase and become easier to navigate 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.
The survey was conducted over the first two weeks of December with 85 respondents.