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On Dec. 3, 2019, federal banking agencies and state bank regulators issued guidance on banks providing services to hemp-related businesses. The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors issued the guidance to provide clarity regarding the legal status of hemp and the applicable Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements. Unlike marijuana, hemp is no longer a Schedule I controlled substance and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulates hemp production. Even though hemp is legal under federal law, state or tribal governments may prohibit the production of hemp. Due to the fact that hemp is legal under federal law, banks are not required to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) on customers solely because the customer is engaged in hemp growth or cultivation, however they should be filed if the bank suspects suspicious activity. FinCEN will issue more guidance after reviewing and evaluating the USDA interim final rule establishing a domestic hemp production regulatory program.
John Zasada, JD, CAMS – Compliance Consulting Director, Financial Institutions Group. John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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