Customers Bancorp banking hemp-related firms in New York, Pennsylvania

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Customers Bancorp in Wyomissing, Pa., has started providing commercial banking services to companies in Pennsylvania and New York with permits for hemp and cannabidiol.

The $11.2 billion-asset Customers said in a Tuesday press release that it will offer companies with the valid permits access to commercial checking, online and mobile banking; fraud protection; ACH payment; online wire transfer services; and business bill pay.

Potential customers include growers, testing labs and processors.

Commercial banks have been hesitant to lend to the marijuana-related industries due to regulatory concerns and conflicts between state and federal law.

Customers said is it watching public policy developments closely and has created internal procedures and controls to remain in conformity with laws and regulations.

“Hemp-related businesses will become an economic driver across the country, especially as the demand for additional ancillary services increases,” Richard Ehst, president and chief operating officer of Customers Bank, said in the release. "Now is the right time to engage with these important businesses.”

Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana in 2016. In New York, efforts to legalize recreational marijuana failed earlier this summer, but the state decriminalized its use. Medical marijuana is also legal in New York.

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