Why You Should Earn the Leading Cannabis Banking Accreditation

Earning the certified cannabis banking accreditation shows you know the ins and outs of this complex landscape.

Since the legal cannabis industry is relatively new, so is the cannabis banking and finance space. And thanks to the unique regulatory circumstances surrounding the industry, the relationship between cannabis businesses and financial institutions is often unique as well. That’s where certified cannabis bankers and financial service providers come in. If you’re interested in learning more about cannabis banking accreditation and how to obtain certification, this guide is for you.

Why is a cannabis banking certification important?

When it comes to cannabis banking and finance, there are knowledge gaps and a need for education regarding the state of the industry, compliance requirements, and more. Professionals who hold cannabis banking certifications demonstrate to employers, regulators, and customers that they’re committed to understanding the ins and outs of a complex and ever-changing industry. With that demonstration comes trust, an all-important element of any financial institution.

Fortunately, there are programs that have been developed that offer professionals the chance to further their education about cannabis banking and the industry at large – serving as an important tool for career development and a signal to regulators that a financial institution is doing its due diligence when creating cannabis banking programs. One such program is the Accredited Cannabis Banking Professional certification program.

What is the Accredited Cannabis Banking Professional certification?

The Accredited Cannabis Banking Professional (ACBP) certification program, organized by BankersWeb and CareerLearning, is an eight-session course that teaches financial professionals about the cannabis industry and what it takes to provide compliant banking and financial services to legal cannabis businesses. ACBP certification courses are held once per week for eight weeks, at the end of which professionals who successfully complete the course receive their ACBP certification.

In this course, professionals will learn about the recent history of the cannabis industry and its legal status, how to build a compliant cannabis banking program, how to identify unusual activity that suggests fraud or money laundering, and the current state of the cannabis industry and where it may be heading. Those who successfully complete the course will have a working knowledge of the industry and how to provide banking and financial services that cannabis businesses can rely on now and into the future.

ACBP certification sessions

The ACBP certification course includes the following eight sessions, which will equip you with the practical skills and knowledge you need to serve the legal cannabis industry successfully. These sessions are taught by Paul Dunford, who is also the Co-Founder and VP of Knowledge at Green Check.

1. Introduction to cannabis

This session covers the basic terminology you’ll encounter in the cannabis industry, as well as the industry’s federal status and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) guidance on working with state-legal cannabis businesses. It also includes information about state cannabis and hemp programs and how they vary from one another.

2. Understanding cannabis businesses

In this session, participants will learn about different types of cannabis businesses and the restrictions and limitations they face. Additionally, participants will examine how the business of cannabis works, including details about everything from licensing to operations.

3. Assessing risk

This session covers categories of risk to consider when banking cannabis businesses, as well as risk mitigation strategies financial institutions can employ. It also offers guidance on how to engage in risk-rating for cannabis-related businesses (CRBs) based on the type of business and their operations.

4. Financial modeling

In the fourth session of the course, participants will explore the factors that define market opportunity, including CRB type, geography, and applicable regulations. They will also learn about the costs of cannabis banking for a financial institution and the strategic goals they should set to develop a profitable cannabis program.

5. Building a cannabis banking program

In session five, the course covers everything you need to know to build a compliant cannabis banking program, including banking policies and procedures, the products and services financial institutions may offer, and how to propose a program to the Board.

6. Running a cannabis banking program

In the sixth session, participants will explore the intricacies of running a cannabis program, including a detailed look at account onboarding and enhanced due diligence processes. This session will also cover market outreach and how to attract new customers, as well as cash handling processes.

7. Monitoring CRB accounts

The ongoing monitoring of cannabis-related businesses is a critical part of a cannabis banking program, and participants will learn how to conduct monitoring in the seventh session. This session covers what “normal and expected” activity is, how to identify it in each market, red flags, and anomalous activity. It also covers taking corrective action when necessary and FinCEN reporting requirements for cannabis banks.

8. Case studies and frequently asked questions

In the final session of the course, participants will review case studies of real-world cannabis banking scenarios. They’ll also have the opportunity to review frequently asked questions by cannabis banking professionals and their customers.

This comprehensive course gives the tools necessary for all types of cannabis banking and finance professionals. Recommended attendees include compliance and risk officers, branch operations managers, business development teams, lending officers, senior leadership teams, attorneys, auditors, examiners, and chief risk officers.

Keeping up with changes in the cannabis industry

In cannabis, the only constant is change, and financial institutions can expect a lot of that in the coming years. From rescheduling and descheduling to the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act to the possibility of federal legalization, there are many variables that could drastically change the cannabis banking landscape. That means continual education and monitoring of the latest trends is essential, even for cannabis bankers who have already secured their certifications.

Demonstrating a commitment to continual training is increasingly important to high-risk bank examiners and auditors who are responsible for overseeing financial institutions with cannabis programs. These efforts must involve annual retraining with compliance staff, which should be documented to show regulators that your institution is making a good-faith effort to keep your team up to date.

For professionals who have not yet obtained their ACBP certification, taking this course and obtaining the certification is a major step toward fulfilling their continued education obligations. You should also develop an in-house program in which compliance staff continually update your team about changes in the space and host training sessions, seminars, and workshops to deliver them the practical information they need to serve customers in a compliant manner.

Looking for a way to keep your team up to date on all the latest cannabis banking info? Check out the Green Check Knowledge Center for free educational resources.

Green Check can support your compliance and training efforts

Whether your cannabis banking program is well-established or you’re preparing to create one from the ground up, Green Check can support you. From the immense treasure trove of deposit data found in Green Check Verified to our network of verified cannabis businesses and financial institutions in the Green Check Connect marketplace, we have the knowledge and network to help you succeed. So, if you’re looking to grow alongside the cannabis industry, Green Check is the partner you need.