MBank, the only bank in Oregon offering checking accounts to marijuana businesses, is closing all its weed accounts in the next two months.
The Gresham-based bank will close the roughly 75 accounts it has opened for marijuana growers and sellers and other pot businesses, MBank president and CEO Jef Baker tells WW this afternoon.
"The rumor's true," Baker says. "We are shutting down the program over a couple-month period. It just ultimately boils down that as a small community bank, we do not have the resources to manage the compliance needed for this industry. We thought we could, but we can't."
Baker says MBank, which has $165 million in assets, is "not big enough" to deal with government regulations created by handling weed money. He described the decision as being "the cost, but not in dollars."
Marijuana Business Daily first reported today that MBank is closing its pot accounts.
Few financial institutions have been willing to risk a crackdown from bank regulators for knowingly accepting money from a federally-banned drug.
WW profiled MBank last month, describing how the bank found an untapped market of medical farmers and dispensaries. Those business are operating under Oregon law, but keeping millions of dollars in safes, or hoping banks won't ask about where their money comes from.
The accounts MBank is closing include those for businesses offering support services to growers. WW reported in March that the bank's total number of pot-business clients was about 200. "I may have misspoke on the overall number of accounts in March," Baker now tells WW.