Preparing for Growth: Documentation Requirements for Hemp/CBD Business Banking Accounts
By Chuck Keller, Project Manager, Specialty Banking for FLCBank
Business is booming for Florida’s hemp and CBD businesses. With more than 23,000 acres approved for hemp cultivation across the state, these growing sectors will continue to play a prominent role in the state’s agricultural industry.
As Florida’s Hemp Bank™, our team at Florida Capital Bank (FLCBank) has extensive experience working with entrepreneurs who are ready to put down financial roots for their hemp or CBD business. Establishing and managing banking accounts is essential for any business to scale for growth. However, many business owners are unaware of the unique documentation requirements that come with this new territory.
Understanding the Requirements
Hemp and CBD regulations are constantly evolving. At this time, the FDIC and OCC do not plan to issue specific guidance on hemp; instead, they are depending on each institution to provide financial services in a safe, sound manner.
Financial institutions often consider accounts within these industries to be “high risk.” One way to justify that risk is through extensive due diligence. At FLCBank, we require the following documents for all new business account applicants operating within the hemp and CBD industries:
• Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) permit
• Employer Identification Number (EIN) or Internal Revenue Service (IRS) number
• Florida Division of Corporations (Sunbiz.org) registration
• Florida tax certificate
• Local (county or city) business permit(s)
Our bank also requires an operating agreement (if your business is registered as a limited liability corporation), and a beneficial ownership form that identifies all individuals with an ownership stake of 10% or greater in the company with their government-issued identification attached.
Tips for Success
These requirements may seem arduous, but they are essential to demonstrate that your business is in proper standing — from an organizational and operational standpoint. Having these documents in hand at the time of your application helps to expedite the due diligence process for all involved parties.
If your business does not yet have these documents, proceed with securing them as quickly as possible. Along the way, avoid common pitfalls that can cost you time and money. We offer these tips for success:
• Pick the right principal address. While completing your documentation, you’ll see fields to list your principal address, mailing address, and registered agent address. Your principal address should align with where you will sell your products. If you have multiple locations, we advise choosing the largest one as your principal address. Your mailing and registered agent addresses do not have to be the same as your principal address.
• Make sure your applications match. The principal address listed on your FDACS permit application must match the address listed on your local (city and county) permits application, as well as your Florida tax certificate application.
Inconsistencies or errors across these documents could result in processing delays, rejections, and/or hefty fees to update incorrect information.
Grow with the Right Partner
Successfully completing the requirements to open banking accounts is an important milestone in growing your hemp or CBD business.
FLCBank has invested in the necessary software, training, and internal procedures and controls to ensure compliance with laws and regulations for this dynamic market. We strongly agree with FDACS Secretary Nikki Fried’s belief that “industrial hemp will revolutionize our state.”