To keep pace with the growing cannabis industry in Massachusetts, certain banks and credit unions in the state are now expanding the services that they offer to cannabis companies. According to The Boston Globe, a small group of financial institutions in Massachusetts have begun offering banking to recreational marijuana companies. Participating financial institutions, such as Century Bank of Medford and BayCoast Bank of Swansea, started offering bank accounts for recreational companies after their existing medical marijuana clients began to apply for recreational permits. Despite heightened administrative costs and regulatory uncertainty at the Federal level, these institutions have opened their doors to recreational companies rather than watch their existing medical marijuana clients go elsewhere for their banking needs.
As a notable next step in this trend, Massachusetts financial institutions may soon offer direct lending to marijuana companies. While a final decision has not been made on whether or not to launch this program, GFA Federal Credit Union in Gardner recently announced that it is preparing to extend direct loans to licensed marijuana cultivators, processors, and retailers as early as this fall. Currently GFA offers mortgages to landlords of marijuana companies as well as mortgages and auto loans for industry employees. However, this new program would represent GFA’s first foray into providing financing directly to marijuana companies. Under this proposed program, GFA anticipates that marijuana companies would be able to obtain financing for the purchase of real estate or processing equipment at interest rates between 5 and 10 percent. In the event that GFA decides to launch this program in the fall, The Boston Globe believes that it would become “one of just a few – if not the only – US financial institutions openly lending to marijuana companies.”