NEW REPORT: Credit Unions Help Marijuana Businesses Cut Through Financial Haze

When it comes to making financial decisions, businesses and consumers alike need to be well-informed and in recent weeks, several credit unions (CUs) have stepped up efforts to better educate their members. In the October/November Credit Union Tracker™, PYMNTS highlighted the latest efforts by CUs to work with educational institutions in the U.S. and Canada to promote financial literacy to younger consumers, offer access to financial services to members and promote financial stability.

Around The Credit Union World

Credit unions in the Midwestern United States, for example, launched initiatives aimed at offering new financial tools for education professionals.

First, Wisconsin-based Educators Credit Union (ECU) recently announced it would make CUNA Brokerage Services available to its 170,000 members through its Educators Investment Services program. The decision is designed to offer members access to a wide array of services, including retirement planning, wealth management, mutual funds and life insurance, among others.

In neighboring Indiana, Teachers Credit Union (TCU) made its own efforts to work with the education community. The CU recently entered into a five-year agreement to provide Hamilton Southeastern Schools with cash management services. The partnership also provides TCU with exclusive naming rights to the Fishers High School and Hamilton Southeastern High School football fields.

Meanwhile, in a historic first, a Canadian credit union has reached a partnership agreement with a professional U.S. NFL football team. WFCU Credit Union was recently named the official credit union of the Detroit Lions. Under the terms of the partnership, WFCU will host school assemblies in Ontario’s Windsor-Essex schools, featuring appearances by Lions’ players and the team mascot Roary, to discuss topics like financial literacy and bullying.

Helping Legal Marijuana Businesses Bank Legitimately

While some credit unions are teaching educators about financial literacy, newly legalized marijuana businesses are learning that legal and legitimate are often two different concepts.

While some states have legalized marijuana for recreational usage, legalized marijuana businesses frequently struggle to find financial institutions (FIs) for basic banking services. As a result, many legalized marijuana merchants continue to rely on cash to conduct everyday business.

In Massachusetts, at least one credit union is stepping up to help marijuana businesses shift away from cash. GFA Federal Credit Union of Gardner, MA recently announced that it will work with legalized marijuana businesses to offer the same financial services offered to other traditional businesses. For the October/November feature story, PYMNTS spoke with GFA’s CEO Tina Sbrega to learn more about the credit union’s decision and how the move fits with its history of catering to underbanked populations.

About The Tracker

The Credit Union Tracker™, powered by CO-OP Financial Services, is the go-to resource for staying up to date on a month-by-month basis on the trends and changes in the credit union industry.