One of the country’s leading banks that specializes in providing financial solutions to emerging and underserved industries has launched a dedicated cannabis banking program.

West Town Bank & Trust announced it will provide marijuana businesses with the necessary financial tools to operate with greater efficiency and more security.

Federal cannabis prohibition currently prevents many cannabusinesses from accessing basic financial services. Unable to open a bank account and accept traditional electronic payments, marijuana-related businesses have to operate on a cash-only basis, with all of the attendant risks, and/or turn to a third-party intermediary that can offer alternative merchant options.

Needless to say, this situation is unsatisfactory as it hampers the cannabis industry’s ability to turn a profit, professionalize and build customer trust.

West Town Bank & Trust, one of the first banks to service hemp businesses following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, intends to fill the banking void in the state-legal marijuana industry by offering the full range of financial services to cannabusinesses and their partners. This includes business checking accounts, electronic payment services, and assistance with access to capital.

The bank boasts an experienced in-house team of seven Certified Cannabis Bankers familiar with the multi-faceted and rapidly-evolving regulatory compliance requirements in the industry. In addition to their roles at West Bank, they also serve on the Cannabis Financial Institutions Group of the National Cannabis Roundtable. This is an advocacy group focused on building solutions to the marijuana industry’s most acute needs.

Mel Barnes is the program director for West Town Bank & Trust’s hemp and cannabis clients. She believes the bank has a lot to offer cannabusinesses and that this, in turn, will serve to benefit the marijuana industry as a whole.

“Legal cannabis businesses should be able to access the same financial services as other industries,” Barnes said. “Using our in-house industry expertise, along with leveraging technology partners such as RiskScout, we’ve built a robust online onboarding and due diligence infrastructure that allows customers to access the services they need while feeling secure in their financial partner.”

Barnes added that West Bank & Trust’s successful background servicing the hemp industry will stand it in good stead when it comes to cannabusinesses.

“This same infrastructure provided the opportunity to effectively scale our hemp program and we are excited to have the support from our Board of Directors and Executive Management Team to make a full commitment to serve the cannabis market,” she said.

West Town Bank & Trust is accepting applications from prospective clients. If you’d like to find out more head over to their website.

About the Author: Brian Ellis

With 6 years' experience in business journalism, Brian is the person we turn to for anything related to the business of cannabis. His news coverage spans topics including marijuana business and finance. Brian's work features on,, , and