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Sundie Seefried found herself working in the cannabis industry by surprise. When Colorado legalized in 2014, operators couldn't access any banking, and cash was all over the streets. At the time, Seefried was CEO of Partner Colorado Credit Union with five short months remaining until she retired in November.
But as cannabis operators came to her looking for legitimate banking solutions and sharing horror stories of large cash ATM deposits under the cloak of night, she saw an opportunity to not only offer banking services but make the community safer by keeping all that cash from passing hands.
She spearheaded the project, which is rare for a person in her position. Still, she figured she could lean on her experience as a credit union CEO for 20 years and leverage her credibility and trust. Plus, if it all went south, she was ready to retire anyway. Then, she didn't take a day off until Easter Sunday.
Now that Seefried has spent the last nine years processing cannabis funds, she has cemented her place on the Mount Rushmore of cannabis banking. She single-handedly built cannabis banking regulations and then wrote a book that served as a template and training tool for those who followed the trail she cut.
In this episode, Seefried discusses:
- Why she bailed on retirement to take a risk on cannabis. (4:46)
- The state of cannabis transactions in Colorado before she stepped in. (7:44)
- The state of SAFE Banking in America. (13:02)
- Why some financial institutions struggle in cannabis. (18:04)
- Why she wrote "Navigating Safe Harbor: Cannabis Banking in a Time of Uncertainty." (19:45)
- Her rigorous onboarding process for cannabis clients. (25:45)
- How she single-handedly built cannabis banking, brick-by-brick. (30:00)
- How she spun out Safe Harbor Financial from Partner Colorado Credit Union. (33:11)
- What it was like to receive the Green Market Report's Cannabis Finance Award for Top CEO. (46:16)
- Why there remains no truly safe harbor when it comes to cannabis finances. (46:52)
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