Technology Eases Pot Banking Pain

CU Times interviews André G. Herrera, Hypur EVP of banking and compliance, who situates Hypur as a solution for cannabis banking. Hypur is described as automating a financial institution’s processes such as tracking of cash, documents, and applications through a customized process.

While the Colorado-based Fourth Corner Credit Union aimed to serve the cannabis industry, another idea was brewing – an application that could ultimately be the saving grace for similar financial institutions. A software platform, called Hypur, was being developed as a compliance tool to assist cash-intensive businesses. Its original intent was to service payday lenders and check cashing businesses.

“Back in day one, we weren’t talking about cannabis at all. So there was no discussion, we didn’t build it for cannabis,” Andre G. Herrera, executive vice president of banking and compliance for Hypur, said.

After showing the platform to banking consultants and regulators for feedback, Herrera said the company started getting calls from institutions in Colorado that wondered whether the platform could be used to service legitimate marijuana businesses.

Herrera confirmed the platform could accommodate such businesses and even had industry-specific features for the marijuana industry, such as SARs.

“The topic of cannabis is on fire in the banking community,” Herrera said, adding that “it’s a lot like ‘Fight Club’ – you don’t talk about it.”

Hypur automates a financial institution’s processes by incorporating its policies and procedures into the application, according to Herrera.

For institutions that service cash-intensive businesses, it allows for the tracking of cash, documents and applications through an automated process.

There are 25 different modules in the system, including an AML/BSA module, a CTR module and one for SARs.

“We can take the enhanced due diligence process of an institution and we can automate that to where the bank is reviewing documentation, rather than scrambling to get the documentation,” Herrera said.

Institutions can customize the application as well as pick and choose which modules work best for it, according to Herrera.

“The whole idea behind Hypur is we try to bring transparency in,” he said. “The industry needs transparency; the regulators want transparency in this and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t exist.”

Fourth Corner President/CEO Deirdra O’Gorman said she agrees.

“Our goal is to try to take this money out from behind the shadows, have it be transparent and compliant, work with regulators, work with state agencies so that it’s taxed and regulated,” she said. “It’s happening today with financial institutions that might not understand the implications of how to bank this industry. So that’s why we felt like having an institution from the ground up geared with this type of compliance really was a smart way to approach it.”

She said the technology behind Hypur could be the saving grace for an industry that needs clarification. The legacy systems at most credit unions and banks make it hard to “bolt on some of the compliance that is necessary for helping these cash-intensive businesses,” she said.

“I think that specialized software is extraordinarily helpful in making it easier for financial institutions to take their first steps into these types of industries,” O’Gorman added.

Herrera said Hypur will work with legacy systems – a bidirectional link can run between the legacy system and application, allowing data to be sent back to Hypur for reporting purposes.

While Hypur has some support within the industry, how well it will be received by regulators is still uncertain. The NCUA declined to comment on the software and its implications across the financial sector.

O’Gorman added the credit union will continue its advocacy and lobbying efforts.

“We’ve spent two years trying to figure this out,” she said. “We have lots of knowledge to impart on people who are trying to do the right thing and step up and help these businesses. I know we are asking the tough questions that a lot of people don’t feel they want to answer yet, but we think it’s time to make this a conversation that gets national attention. We are trying to help whoever is trying to take up the gauntlet at this point.”

This article originally appeared on

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