Massachusetts-based Lighthouse Biz Solutions, a subsidiary of GFA Federal Credit Union, has become the first east coast financial institution to receive certification for outstanding monetary banking protocols in banking cannabis and hemp operations from the Policy Center for Public Health & Safety. This honor is part of a financial services certification program backed by 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. The certification model is widely recognized by state and federal agencies as the standard of compliance.
Karl Racine, a board member of Safe Harbor Financial, said, “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.”
Tina Sbrega, the founder of Lighthouse and former President of GFA, stated, “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.”
The certification program focuses on ensuring compliance standards that meet the expectations of BSA and the FinCEN guidelines, mainstreaming depository options for cannabis-related entities, and monitoring internal activities of all personnel involved in the compliance program to ensure compliance with processes that will protect GFA and Lighthouse.
According to Karen White, Executive Director of The Attorneys General Alliance, “Fundamental to marketplace validation and combating 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.”
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