RLR Management Consulting

10 Ways Technology Makes Cannabis Banking Possible

By Mike Kennedy, Co-Founder and Head of Product
Green Check Verified

By the time you’ve completed the foundational work of assessing the risk and defining your institution’s unique mitigating controls, writing your policies and procedures, understanding the operations of cannabis businesses, and training your staff, your team should feel confident and excited about launching your cannabis banking program. Getting things up and running is about much more than accepting your first deposit; it’s about confidently enforcing your policies and procedures and monitoring the effectiveness of your program.

The due diligence, monitoring, and reporting requirements for cannabis banking can certainly seem arduous, but leveraging the right technology enables your team to support the operational and oversight needs reliably and effectively. From the front line all the way to senior management, a purpose-built solution can provide the standardization, data, and automation that your team needs to maintain a successful program.

Standardization

While technology can carry the weight of most operational functions related your cannabis banking program, there remain aspects that can only be done by a human with extensive experience and expertise. Forming a comprehensive understanding of the businesses you choose to engage with is the most notable. Nevertheless, these processes can be both supported and improved through standardization.

  • Mitigate risk by reducing mistakes. Standardizing your processes results in less room for ambiguity and reduces the opportunity for human error.
  • Ensure consistency with standard workflows. With standardized workflows, your team can produce systematic and reliable results internally, as well as provide a consistent customer experience to existing and prospective accounts.
  • Reduce errors or omissions. Documenting and configuring the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder in your program ensures that right work is done by the right people at the right time.

Data

For most BSA and AML functions, relying on core transaction activity is generally sufficient; however, when it comes to cannabis banking the need for more and different data is paramount. Ensuring that each business you serve is operating in compliance with its own regulations is the only way to demonstrate that your program operates within your state’s cannabis laws.

  • Gain visibility into business activity. Analyzing sales and inventory data from each customer might seem overwhelming, but it’s a key step in verifying the source of funds entering your institution.
  • Tracking activity and exceptions. Detailed business data provides another vector by which to track benchmarks, monitor trends, and most importantly report on any exceptions to the expected and anticipated activity.
  • Enable traceability with digital audit trails. As with each line of business, you’ll need visibility into the performance of the program and effectiveness of the mitigating controls you’ve put in place. Moreover, the ability to more easily prepare for audits and exams become significantly more important when you choose to serve this industry. Deploying the right technology system(s) will ensure that this process is both painless and effective each and every time.

Automation

Because certain aspects of your cannabis banking program rely heavily on the experience of your team members, it’s important to automate the tasks that do not require such human expertise. Saving time on these tasks means more time to focus on value-add activities for your institution.

  • Save time by reducing repetitive tasks. Effective oversight and reporting often requires repetitive tasks, most of which can be completed, in whole or in part, by an automated system.
  • Spot abnormalities with trend analyses. Much like your other commercial accounts, monitoring trends and performance indicators provides a much-needed tool to detect illicit behavior. By using the right technology, you can factor in details such as peer group analysis and shifting market dynamics to get a true sense of what activity is potentially suspicious.
  • Identify illicit activity with automated verification. Your examiners will expect you to have a firm grasp on the source of funds being deposited by your cannabis accounts; automating the process of receiving and verifying the legitimacy of sales against every applicable state law makes this possible.
  • Keep records up-to-date. The level and frequency of account monitoring and oversight for your cannabis accounts is most likely higher than any other type of account at your institution. Technology enables your team to request and receive updated information and documents automatically and at predefined intervals, reducing the need for sporadic email threads.

As soon as your institution is ready to launch your cannabis banking program, your team should be equipped with the necessary tools to monitor and report on the effectiveness of the program. Leveraging the right technology can help your team turn your institution’s cannabis banking program into a profitable, sustainable line of business.

For a more detailed look at how technology can help support your cannabis banking program, review our White Paper on Cannabis Banking Software Solutions.