Preston Eldridge, J.D., joins Abaca as chief compliance officer and senior vice president of operations after five years in private law practice. The union grew from a friendship forged in the Little Rock Technology Park, where both Abaca and Eldridge officed in 2017-2018.
Abaca’s co-founder and CEO Dan Roda, a fellow attorney, placed law and regulation at the forefront of Abaca’s mission from the very beginning – to leverage compliance and technology to normalize financial services for the rapidly-growing cannabis industry. Eldridge’s deep knowledge of cannabis and banking regulation as well as corporate and technology law bolsters Abaca’s drive to bring safe, secure and compliant financial services to the cannabis industry.
Eldridge has clerked for the Federal District Court, Eastern Arkansas Division; practiced with Sidley Austin LLP in Washington, D.C.; served as campaign manager and senior counsel for a U.S. Senate race; and founded an advertising tech startup. Since then, he has been in private law practice, and has included cannabis and hemp operators among his client base.
“From the early days of the Arkansas cannabis industry, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the business, from rulemaking to licensing to compliant operations,” says Eldridge. “I’m excited to leverage my experience and to continue to be involved in the cannabis industry while also steering compliance and operations for one of the few rapidly-scaling fintech companies in the region.”
When they first met in 2017, Abaca was a newly launched startup built to bank the nascent Arkansas cannabis market and Eldridge had recently represented and helped with applications for Arkansas’ aspiring new cannabis operators. As Abaca’s team grew and expanded nationwide, its executive team remembered Eldridge’s deep knowledge of the industry and approached him to join the firm.
Abaca offers end-to-end financial services to legal cannabis operators across the United States. The company’s fintech banking platform offers banking, lending and payment processing services to cannabis, ancillary and hemp/CBD businesses nationwide. Operating in a high compliance industry, Eldridge’s role is essential.
“Abaca’s growth would not be possible without being able to build world-class team right here in Arkansas, and Preston is our newest addition to that team, which now numbers over 30,” says Abaca CEO Dan Roda. “For many industries, compliance can present a labor-intensive burden that results in some of your highest value people performing repetitive tasks. Preston’s expertise and deep knowledge of law, regulation, and policy will help us continue to innovate new technologies, processes, and automations to empower our team’s efficiency as we scale.”
Abaca provides state-legal cannabis businesses with compliant bank accounts, lending, electronic payments, and other financial services through its financial technology-powered cannabis banking platform. Abaca and its partner financial institutions are currently accepting traditional bank account applications in Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota. The company’s fintech banking platform also offers lending and payment processing services to cannabis and hemp/CBD businesses nationwide.