To paraphrase a well known TV commercial, “It’s your money, and you need it now!” It only makes sense that you want to get a cannabis bank account quickly. But, due to the myriad regulatory hoops to jump through to remain compliant and mitigate risk, the process of getting approved and onboarded for an account can be a long, time-consuming one. If you’re a serial entrepreneur, you’ll likely be surprised by how additionally complex it is to get your cannabis business banked compared to your businesses in other industries.

On a positive note, there IS something that can be done about it! By having all your paperwork properly completed and submitted, you might find yourself with a bank account in as little as 5-10 business days! (If you’ve been around the block a time or two, you’ll know just how lightning fast that is.)

You already have enough things to worry about, and we believe banking doesn’t have to be one of them. That’s why our onboarding specialists compiled this helpful checklist, and they work with you every step of the way to ensure you get banked as quickly as possible.

In its simplest form, there are three main phases of getting setup to be approved:

  1. Collect information
  2. Collect signatures
  3. Internal review

So what all is required to get a cannabis bank account quickly?

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STEP 1: COLLECT INFORMATION

What we collect:

  • Articles of Incorporation – Document that establishes the existence of an entity. These are generally filed with the Secretary of State, in the state where the company is incorporated. 
  • Operating Agreement – This document is used by Limited Liability Companies to outline the business financial and functional decisions including rules, regulations and provisions. The purpose of the document is to govern the internal operations of the business in a way that suits the specific needs of the business owners, called “members.”

    OR

    Bylaws
    – Bylaws are similar in function to Operating Agreements. Bylaws may be established by entities such as a business corporation. Bylaws are a set of rules or laws established by an organization or community to regulate itself, as allowed or provided for by some higher authority.
  • EIN Letter – The tax ID verification letter is the official confirmation that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sends following a request for an EIN (Employer Identification Number).
  • Licenses – Images of each active license for the entity. This includes all licenses required to operate, such as a local retail license.
  • Tax Returns from Previous Two Years – This is requested to view the reported income to determine the debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of the monthly gross income that is used to pay monthly debts. For startups that haven’t yet filed taxes, returns are needed from one majority holder or managing member.
  • Initial Deposit – A bank statement or other source of documentation to demonstrate where the initial funds will come from. A term sheet or investor agreement may be submitted instead.
  • Cap Table – A table that shows a company’s ownership by percentages, equity dilution, and the value of the equity in each round of investment. Even if it is also included in the operating agreement, we ask that the cap table be submitted as a standalone document.

Additional requests you might encounter:

  • DBA (Doing Business As) Filing – Filing for a DBA allows customers to conduct business under a name other than their own name or the name of their LLC.
  • Certification of Trust – If ownership is held by a trust, this document certifies the existence of the trust and proves the trustee’s authority to act.
  • Insurance Documents for Vehicles (transport/delivery licenses) – For transportation/delivery cannabis licenses, proof of insurance for all business vehicles will be needed.
  • Management Agreement – If the license is owned by another entity or individual, a management agreement is needed
  • Lease Agreement/Deed – If we are unable to verify the business address you provided, we will ask for a lease agreement or deed. If you are pre-operational and a location has not been established yet, we may request a utility bill, invoice, or lease agreement to tie the location used on the entity CIP to an individual listed on the account.

For those holding pre-operational licenses, we request that the customer provide any application that has been submitted to the state. This will not be applicable for each state as some states require a bank account before applying for a license.

Common snags:

  • CIP – Information needed for individual CIPs are as follows:
    • Personal/Home Address, not the business address. If the address does not match what is on the individual’s driver’s license, a utility bill or other bill invoice addressed to that individual will be needed. 
    • Two Forms of Identification. Primary identification will consist of driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued photo ID. Acceptable secondary identification consists of any primary form, school ID, major credit card, employer ID card, Social Security card, insurance card, or membership card. 
  • Initial Deposit 
    • If funds are coming from an existing bank account for the business, three months’ worth of statements are required. If funds are coming from a personal account, a one-month bank statement will be requested. 
    • If funds are coming from multiple investors, an investor list will need to be provided.
    • Customers that wish to deposit cash for the initial deposit will need to provide their monthly sales report for the year. This statement is produced by METRC or BioTrack. 
  • Cap Table
    • This must be submitted as a separate document.
    • The ownership percentages must equal 100%. For example, if there are three owners, two owners would be listed as owning 33.33% and one owner would be listed as owning 33.34%.

STEP TWO: COLLECT SIGNATURES

We make the process of getting a cannabis banking account quickly easy by using the above mentioned documents to compile all CIPs needed. You’ll then receive a pre-filled CIP for every owner and the entity. All you have to do is review, edit if necessary, and approve.

  • CIP (Customer Information Profile) – Each owner (someone with 10% or more of an owner percentage), controlling executive, and account signer will need to complete the document.  
  • Entity CIP – The purpose of this document is to collect general information about the entity. 
  • Entity and Individual W9 Form – US financial institutions ask customers to complete W9 forms in order to obtain personal identifying information (Name, Address, Tax ID) to report income paid to you to the IRS. 

Once you’ve verified that all CIPs needed are correct, all you have to do:

  • Gather signatures/initials from all parties
  • Submit the entire document, not just the signature page

STEP THREE: INTERNAL REVIEW

Once you’ve submitted your completed paperwork, your heavy lifting is done! Celebrate with your favorite beverage (or strain) of choice as our onboarding specialists get to work verifying your documents.

This is where our team of compliance experts kicks it into high gear. We work with the bank to get your application reviewed and approved so you can get a cannabis bank account as quickly as possible. (Ideally in as few as 5-10 business days!)

Ready to get started? Apply now so our Financial Solutions Consultants can get to work connecting you with the banking services you need!

Want to learn more about deploying purpose-built cannabis financial solutions to automate and improve compliance? Contact Abaca today.

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