Banking for Vermont Cannabiz – What Are the Options?
Editor’s Note: On Wednesday, March 1, 2023, Brattleboro Savings & Loan announced that they are ending their cannabis banking services – more info in our recent post.
This summer, Brattleboro Savings & Loan and the Vermont Federal Credit Union entered Vermont’s burgeoning recreational cannabis banking business, VTDigger reported on Sunday.
This brings to four the total number of financial institutions willing to push through regulatory hurdles to serve the new cannabis businesses in Vermont, along with a handful of out-of-state banks.
The TLDR – Approximate fees for four Vermont banks and one national bank, Dama Financial, along with pros and cons and how business owners rank each one:
Brattleboro Savings & Loan
Different monthly fees for different licenses. Also scaled to business size.
Pro: Most competitive rates out of the Vermont credit unions.
Con: Limited to those located in Windham County and eastern Bennington County.
Currently not accepting new accounts (as of Wednesday, March 1, 2023).
Vermont Federal Credit Union
$100 a month for small growers. Much higher rates for other license types.
Pro: Competitive rates for smaller growers.
Con: Expensive banking option for combined licenses. Charges a cash pickup fee and will not take cash deposits at the branch.
“It’s very costly. It’s going to cost us $2,000 a month to have a bank account.” Karen Devereux, pursuing grow, manufacture + retail licenses, on high VTFCU banking costs for multiple license types.
Vermont State Employees Credit Union
Variable rate based on the size of a customer’s deposit. For smaller customers, 1.5% of deposits.
Pro: Long history of cannabis banking in Vermont.
Con: High banking fees.
Currently not accepting new accounts (as of Tuesday, September 27, 2022).
New England Federal Credit Union
Flat fees that currently range from $200 to $2,500 per month depending on the license type.
Pro: appears willing to take in-branch deposits.
Con: High banking fees. Pending merger with VSECU (which bank officials claim will not cause complications).
🌟 Dama Financial
$535 per month for wholesalers, retailers, or vertically integrated businesses.
Pro: Lower fees than Vermont credit unions, specialized cannabis banking experience.
Con: 0.50% cash deposit processing fee which may be costly for high-volume retailers.
Reviews: ““Their fees are significantly lower than the credit unions here in the state. The fixed costs for running a cannabis retail store are extraordinarily high, so anywhere that you can save money, you have to do that.” —Lauren Andrews, Capital Cannabis
Lighthouse Biz Solutions
Full suite of banking services – normal fee $1,750 per month. Fee reduced to $500 per month for Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 cultivators. For cash deposits, Lighthouse charges a 0.13% processing fee.
Pro: More cannabis banking experience than local credit unions.
Con: Slightly more expensive than some other options.