Legal experts Dennis Baranowski, left, and Nema Daghbandan, right, discuss best practices for cannabis business lending.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Cannabis businesses loans are a territory most credit unions would choose to steer clear of, but at the 2017 CUBG National Conference Tuesday, Dennis Baranowski and Nema Daghbandan of Geraci Law Firm offered pointers on how to do just that to a small group of curious lending executives during a breakout session, “What Every Credit Union Should Know About the Green Rush – Lending to the Cannabis Industry.”

Their Irvine, Calif.-based firm provides services related to the legal aspects of loans, including cannabis business loans. While marijuana remains federally illegal, the federal government has released enforcement memos that allow marijuana businesses to carry on with their operations without being prosecuted.


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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has been immersed in the credit union industry for over a decade. She first joined CU Times in 2011 as a freelance writer, and following a two-year hiatus from 2013-2015, during which time she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union), she re-joined the CU Times team full-time as managing editor. She was promoted to executive editor in 2019. In the earlier days of her career, Chilingerian focused on news and lifestyle journalism, serving as a writer and editor for numerous regional publications in Oregon, Louisiana, South Carolina and the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition, she holds experience in marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space. At CU Times, she covers People and Community news, cybersecurity, fintech partnerships, marketing, workplace culture, leadership, DEI, branch strategies, digital banking and more. She currently works remotely and splits her time between Southern California and Portland, Ore.

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