Tell us about Main Street Bank and how the institution got started with cannabis banking.
Main Street Bank is a locally run, independent mutual savings institution serving the MetroWest and northern Middlesex communities of Massachusetts. We are united under a culture that strives every day to contribute to our communities by providing customer-focused, innovative products and services for individuals, families, local businesses, and community organizations since 1860, with particular attention to education and financial well-being. With branch offices in the MetroWest and North Middlesex region, Main Street Bank provides an extensive array of financial services and products for all personal and business life stages.
Main Street Bank began offering cannabis business banking services in 2019, as we recognized a need in our communities for a safer and more secure way for these businesses to manage their funds.
Main Street Bank recently dropped its fees for cannabis accounts to $0. Could you discuss this decision and how you think it will position your cannabis banking program?
We recently reduced the monthly service charge on a Homegrown Analysis Account to $0.00 to make our primary deposit offering to cannabis businesses a better strategic fit for our customers. These businesses are feeling the pressure of the current economic climate, and our goal as a community institution is to support all members of our community by making banking accessible.
This decrease in monthly fees is not indicative of a decrease in the value and level of service we provide. Our organization’s vision is that every customer feels like our only customer and that mentality extends to the businesses we serve and those connected to them. By decreasing monthly fees, we believe we can further our reach to the organizations who value accessibility, a one-to-one approach when it comes to customer service, and an emphasis on mutual success.
Could you describe the types of businesses you work with and your current and future goals?
We work with leaf touching (delivery, dispensary, cultivation, manufacturing), as well as non-leaf touching such as real estate/holding companies and ancillary services. We consider ourselves to be not only cannabis-friendly, but cannabis-forward. We have embraced the cannabis culture and community here in MA and beyond. We generally stick to MA entities, but we will venture into neighboring states if the opportunity makes sense for the business as well as the bank. We generally only lend in MA.
Could you describe the products and services you offer to cannabis businesses and how you differ from the competition?
We offer a full suite of banking products and services. Essentially anything any regular business can have access to, we give cannabis businesses access to. This includes:
- Checking accounts, an interest bearing money market, and payroll accounts. Plus, unlimited extra accounts (taxes/point of sale/etc.)
- Positive Pay/Remote Deposit Capture/Mobile Deposit/Bill Pay/Wires/Ach/Check Writing/Debit Cards (no credit) Online banking.
- We also offer lending to cannabis operators. We lend direct to cannabis. This includes operating capital, real estate, new construction, machinery financing, etc.
Our open architecture (you can choose your vendors/payroll company, etc.), our service/responsiveness, and our lending really set us apart from the competitors. Brandon Curran, our Vice President Relationship Manager III/Specialty Industries, has been in cannabis banking for almost 5 years now in MA and has amassed an impressive book of connections that he is happy to share with cannabis operators trying to grow their businesses and make life easier from an operational standpoint.
What feedback have you received about your program, both from cannabis businesses and other businesses in the communities you serve?
As one customer put it:
“It’s great that [Main Street Bank] is right up the street and they’re easy to work with,” says Brian Adams, founder and CEO of Hudson Botanical Processing. “At the end of the day, if it’s someone that you can have a candid conversation with, and you can get stuff over the finish line, that’s ultimately what matters. And Main Street Bank has been nothing but more than accommodating to us as a small operator.”
Why did Main Street Bank choose Green Check Verified as its cannabis banking partner?
Main Street Bank chose Green Check Verified after testing the waters with a competitor. We have now been with Green Check Verified for approximately 2 years and we love them. From a scalability standpoint, and from a compliance and cost standpoint, GCV cannot be beat. GCV takes many items off of our plates on the compliance side. We can really focus on servicing the client and helping them grow. We couldn’t be happier.
What has the experience been like working with Green Check Verified?
Working with GCV has been a great experience. Performing in-house compliance means having to manually perform background checks, vet deposits, and track monthly sales, which ultimately leads to a lack of efficiency and growth in the cannabis banking program. When done in-house, the process creates a lot of ambiguity among accounts. With GCV, you get a consistent, reasonably priced solution for your bank’s/credit union’s needs when entering the waters of cannabis banking.
Do you have any advice for other financial institutions considering entering the space?
I would strongly advise against entering the cannabis banking space without a trusted, experienced advisor/partner like GCV. Their knowledge in the space is bar none. Their added features like ‘Marketplace’ will help you gain credibility with your clients and make you stand out from the competition.
Do you have any advice for cannabis businesses looking to secure better banking services?
At Main Street Bank, we offer NO MONTHLY FEE checking options for cannabis businesses. We also offer a 1 percent earnings credit on deposits to offset any ancillary fees incurred, such as wires, checkbook order, bill pay, online banking services, etc. Fees aside, our flexibility and service speak for themselves.
If a cannabis-related business would like to learn more about working with Main Street Bank, what is the best way for them to contact you?