Credit unions looking to enter the cannabis banking market can now turn to a CUSO for help rolling out and managing a cannabis banking program – something that is known to be a labor-intensive, compliance-heavy task. 

Partner Colorado Credit Union today announced the creation of Safe Harbor Services, LLC, which will sell and distribute the credit union’s Safe Harbor cannabis banking program. Matthew Cochran, a business and product development executive with more than 20 years of credit union and community bank experience, was appointed president of the CUSO, according to a news release.

Partner Colorado President/CEO Sundie Seefried, who spearheaded the Safe Harbor Private Banking program, will continue to run both the credit union and Safe Harbor Services’ internal Colorado division, according to the release.

Safe Harbor Services’ national launch is scheduled to take place at the MJ Biz Conference this Nov. 14-17 in Las Vegas.

“After long in depth contemplation, the Partner Colorado board decided to launch its own company as a majority owner,” Seefried said in the release. “We want to expand the cannabis banking program nationally and help other financial institutions solve the safety issue of the unbanked cannabis industry. Appointing a separate president to run operations and expansion will relieve the credit union staff from such a time-intensive and monumental task.”

Cochran added, “Building a team and launching Safe Harbor’s cannabis banking program nationally is an exciting opportunity. I’ll be staffing the company over the next few months and launching a multi-state BETA test with banks and credit unions in September.”

According to the release, the Safe Harbor Private Banking program offers cannabis businesses that have found it difficult to open checking and savings accounts at federally-insured financial institutions a fully compliant banking solution. The Arcada, Colo.-based Partner Colorado ($340 million in assets, 31,000 members), now banks $80 million monthly from Colorado’s cannabis businesses through the Safe Harbor program.