The Policy Center for Public Health & Safety (PH&S) today announced that Massachusetts-based Lighthouse Biz Solutions, a wholly owned subsidiary of GFA Federal Credit Union, is the first east coast financial institution to become certified for outstanding U.S. monetary banking protocols in banking cannabis and hemp operations.
The honor is part of a financial services certification program overseen by the Policy Center for Public Health & Safety (PH&S) in collaboration with state attorneys general and endorsed by Safe Harbor Financial.
“The marijuana industry continues to expand in Massachusetts, and it is important to have banking safeguards to mitigate illicit and criminal conduct. This is an important first step in partnering with legally compliant businesses in the marketplace,” said Karl Racine, former Attorney General of the District of Columbia, and current Board member of Safe Harbor Financial.
The PH&S certification brings banking and financial services transparency to ensure the safety of the monetary system for institutions banking hemp and cannabis.
“Credit unions were chartered to serve the unbanked and underserved population and with the launch of Lighthouse Biz Solutions, GFA has carefully banked the cannabis industry for the past five years.
“The cannabis industry has been unbanked and underserved for years, often resulting in adverse impacts on public safety in communities where cannabis is legal. We are honored to receive such a distinction and appreciate the support and guidance we have received from Safe Harbor Financial over the years,” said Lighthouse Founder and former President of GFA Tina Sbrega.
Safe Harbor Financial has been leading the industry in developing financial systems in accord with the U.S. Department of Treasury and FinCEN. Safe Harbor’s CEO Sundie Seefried is a leading expert for law enforcement and regulators issues relating to money laundering and the banking of cannabis and hemp.
“Fundamental to marketplace validation and combatting money laundering is knowing which financial institutions are following procedures and protocols that are compliant with state and federal laws. Financial institutions and their insurers are looking for guidance to ‘bank’ the cannabis industry,” said Karen White, Executive Director of The Attorneys General Alliance.
The overall certification model is accepted by state and federal agencies as the standard of compliance and in implementing general risk mitigating strategies and focuses upon the following:
Ensuring compliance standards that will meet the expectations of BSA and the FinCEN guidelines;
Mainstreaming depository options for cannabis related entities;
Monitoring internal activities of all personnel involved in the compliance program to ensure compliance with processes that will protect GFA and Lighthouse.
GFA Federal Credit Union was founded in 1938 and offers a suite of financial products and services through its ten-branch network across Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
ABOUT PH&S: Is a 501(c)(4) company addressing the challenges facing law enforcement, regulators, cannabis investors & operators as well as financial institutions.
About Attorneys General Alliance: Is a national 501c3 nonprofit, initiating meetings, panels and discussions and serves as a host forum for bipartisan cooperation in the Attorney General community.