One of the most misunderstood parts of operating in the cannabis industry is that marijuana businesses face a unique set of financial challenges apart from other businesses and startups.

Aside from taxes and liabilities, often the most pressing challenge is one that is simple and commonplace for any other business – finding reliable financial solutions.

Despite the spread of legalization and acceptance of cannabis across various states, cannabis businesses and marijuana-related businesses often grapple with significant banking difficulties.

Traditional financial institutions, long wary of the complex regulatory environment and federal restrictions, frequently shy away from offering services to cannabis-related enterprises. This hesitancy leads to a slew of problems for marijuana businesses, ranging from hurdles in managing large cash transactions to challenges in securing loans and other essential banking services.

As a result, cannabis companies are often left with one of few options: operate primarily in cash, complicating everything from payroll management to investment and growth opportunities, or pay exorbitant fees to bank with financial institutions that often offer no security or guarantee that an account may not be closed at a moment’s notice.

“Bison State Bank entered the cannabis banking business to support a traditionally underserved sector,” explains Ryan Wiebe, Executive Chairman of Bison State Bank. “We saw firsthand how cannabis operators were grappling with exorbitant fees, difficulties in making cash deposits, burdensome account restrictions, and prohibitive transaction limits. These challenges motivated us to offer a better banking experience. We set out to deliver a white-glove service at the most competitive rates, tailoring our solutions specifically to the needs of cannabis businesses. Our approach is to treat these operators just like any other commercial customers, providing them with the financial support and respect they deserve in navigating this complex and evolving industry.”

For Bison State Bank, the cannabis industry isn’t an opportunity to capitalize on a sector with no other alternatives, it’s a chance to build relationships at the ground level of the quickest emerging industry in the world, Wiebe explained.

“What sets us apart is our specialized white-glove approach. Apart from offering industry-low fees, we accept cash deposits directly at our branches, catering to the specific cash management needs of the industry. We facilitate change orders and provide cash transportation services, ensuring secure and efficient handling of large cash volumes. Our banking services make payables and receivables straightforward with tools like ACH and remote deposit capture for checks, simplifying daily financial transactions. In addition, we are not limiting our client’s ability to run their operations based on a bank’s command or limit. We work together to establish proper cash management limits that fits the risk profile of each respective business.”

Unlike many banks that offer cannabis services, Wiebe and the team at Bison State Bank have dedicated significant resources and effort to understanding the complexities and problems of cannabis businesses and are offering not only standard financial fare but a unique partnership.

“We’re not just a bank; we are your growth partners,” he continued, “Moreover, we’ve streamlined the account opening process to be as seamless as possible, understanding that time is a valuable resource for our clients. We also make quarterly reconciliation reviews efficient and stress-free. This is made possible by our state-of-the-art cannabis banking compliance platform, which is integrated directly with Metrc. This integration not only streamlines reporting but also ensures our clients are always in compliance with state regulations. Our aim is to provide a banking experience that is not only compliant and secure but also highly convenient for our cannabis business clients.”

Weibe says that the team at Bison is looking beyond the immediate needs of clients and prospective clients. With the growth of the cannabis industry, companies need room to grow as well. Growth can be difficult in the cannabis industry, however, with businesses often stifled by a choice between unfriendly terms or losing equity to be able to expand operations.

“Our lending solutions are designed to meet the unique needs of cannabis businesses, ranging from equipment financing to real estate financing, all structured to comply with industry-specific financial requirements. Our real estate lending solutions are designed to support the acquisition, development, or refinancing of properties used for cannabis cultivation, processing, and retail operations.

“We recognize that real estate is a critical component for the growth and establishment of any cannabis business. Therefore, our lending products are structured to accommodate the specific needs of this sector. This includes flexible terms and competitive rates, ensuring that cannabis operators have access to the necessary capital to expand and thrive in their respective markets.

“Our team works closely with clients to understand their specific real estate objectives and to provide customized financial solutions. Whether it’s a new grow operation, a processing facility, or a dispensary location, we aim to make real estate financing a smooth and accessible process for cannabis businesses. By offering these targeted real estate lending services, we’re not just financing properties; we’re investing in the growth and sustainability of the cannabis industry.”

With an evolving legislative landscape, Wiebe anticipates gradual federal reforms that will bring more clarity and stability to cannabis banking. While Bison State Bank currently focuses on Missouri, Wiebe acknowledges the potential for future expansion. “As regulations evolve and our capacity expands, we are open to exploring opportunities to serve clients outside Missouri,” he adds, highlighting the bank’s growth vision.

For those businesses with established relationships, Weibe understands the reluctance to switch banks. “The process seems daunting, time-consuming, and frankly, a bit of a hassle. But here’s where we change the game. At Bison State Bank, we’ve streamlined the transition process to be as seamless and effortless as possible. Our dedicated transition team specializes in making your switch not just smooth, but practically effortless. We handle the heavy lifting, ensuring that your operations continue uninterrupted while we integrate your business into our system.”

“We believe in fair pricing, ensuring that our clients can retain more of their hard-earned revenue. Secondly, our ability to accept cash deposits at our branches is a game-changer, addressing a major pain point for cannabis businesses. We also cater to specific needs like change orders and secure cash transportation, ensuring that cash-intensive operations run smoothly and safely. Our banking services make payables and receivables straightforward with tools like ACH and remote deposit capture for checks, simplifying daily financial transactions.”

“We’re not just offering a banking service; we’re offering a partnership. Our team at Bison State Bank is dedicated to understanding your business inside and out. We offer personalized support, financial guidance, and industry insights that go far beyond what typical banks provide. This approach makes the process of banking not just accessible but also empowering for cannabis businesses,” Weibe explained.

“Our vision is to be a leading financial partner for the cannabis industry, offering innovative and compliant banking solutions. Our mission revolves around empowering cannabis businesses through financial services that enhance their growth and stability.”

The post Bison State Bank: Blazing a new path in cannabis banking appeared first on Greenway Magazine.