The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued new guidance for banking requirements for hemp-related business customers. Fin CEN said that the clarification was intended to enhance the availability of financial services for, and the financial transparency of, hemp-related businesses in compliance with federal law. The new guidance supplements the December issued rules.
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Basically, the banks are to treat hemp businesses like any other since the 2018 Farm Bill legalized the growing of industrial hemp. Financial institutions are told to conduct customer due diligence (CDD) for all customers, including hemp-related businesses. Financial institutions should obtain basic identifying information about hemp-related businesses through the application of the financial institutions’ customer identification programs and risk-based CDD processes, including beneficial ownership
collection and verification, as they would for all customers. Financial institutions must also establish appropriate risk-based procedures for conducting ongoing CDD.
The banks are no longer required to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) on customers solely because they are engaged in the
growth or cultivation of hemp in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. If the business is co-mingled with regular marijuana, then the company has to keep them separate and the banks would still need to file a SARS report on the marijuana business.
For customers who are hemp growers, financial institutions may confirm the hemp grower’s compliance with state, tribal government, or the USDA licensing requirements, as applicable, by either obtaining (1) a written attestation by the hemp grower that they are validly licensed, or (2) a copy of such license. The extent to which a financial institution will seek additional information beyond the steps outlined above will depend on the financial institution’s assessment of the level of risk posed by each customer.
Additional information might include crop inspection or testing reports, license renewals, updated attestations from the business, or correspondence with the state, tribal government, or USDA. In order to identify the risks posed, financial institutions must understand the nature and purpose of customer relationships for the purpose of developing a customer risk profile, and conduct
ongoing monitoring to identify and report suspicious transactions, including, on a risk basis, to maintain and update customer information.
As with any customer, FinCEN expects financial institutions to tailor their BSA/AML programs to reflect the risks associated with
the customer’s particular risk profile and file reports required under the BSA.
Any cash transactions over $10,000 still have to be reported as usual.