Serving Cannabis

I couldn’t be more excited about the progress that’s been made with Serving Cannabis, and the tremendous showing of support I’ve received from people within my immediate network, and others who are now a part of it!

In my original video, I describe employees of the cannabis industry as an emerging market who are financially underserved within our communities. I outlined my mission to make a difference by getting involved, and established a 90-day timeline to complete the following:

1. Assemble a customized package of high quality retail products and services
2. Create marketing collateral
3. Attend community events and on-site membership drives
4. Develop reporting to measure and analyze production results

Because of the widespread impact and implications pertaining to the subject of my project, I’ve added this fifth deliverable to the list:

5. Publish for other credit unions the replicable roadmap resource I’m building and following

Now let’s jump in. Here’s a summary of what has already been completed, and my next steps.

Check, and Check
To attract cannabis employees to join Salal Credit Union and engage them quickly, I have successfully assembled two custom product and service packages as well as a compelling incentive offer. The two packages are designed to serve almost all employees who may be at either end of the financial spectrum, or anywhere in-between. One is geared toward applicants with good or great credit, and the other toward applicants who are positioned to improve their credit. Each product package includes top-notch benefits, as well as these unique incentives which should make cannabis employees feel like welcomed and appreciated members of the Credit Union:

  • Salal Rewards Points – to leverage deposit and loan account rates, and other benefits
  • Monetary bonus offer – for using the new account
  • Guaranteed Visa Credit Card – an exclusive promotional offering, available to all cannabis employees who qualify for either package

To demonstrate these exclusive benefits, I’ve partnered with Salal’s marketing team to produce two beautiful collateral pieces – an overview brochure which illustrates how Salal promotes financial wellness for cannabis employees, and a promotional insert which showcases the product and incentive offering outlined above.

Next Steps - Roads and Reports

My Senior Business Development Specialist (Amy Ridley), volunteers from my team, and I will be hitting the road and spreading the word that employees of the cannabis industry are not only accepted at Salal Credit Union, they are embraced. Seattle’s annual Hempfest is a 3-day festival with the mission of celebrating and educating on all things cannabis-related, including policy reform. Anticipating over 100,000 attendees over this one weekend alone, the question had to be asked – How many financial institutions have supported Hempfest in its 26 years of existence? The answer – not even one. Until now. This year, Salal Credit Union will be on-site to begin bridging this gap and educating people about the existing opportunity to elevate public safety by partnering cannabis businesses and their employees with supportive financial institutions. Providing this kind of organic financial education couldn’t be more meaningful.

Yet another wave of our cannabis business employees have had their personal accounts with their financial institutions closed. It’s time to step in and get to work. Armed with thoughtful product packages, enticing incentives, and a growing list of cannabis employees who need a place to call their financial home, we will begin to schedule membership drives all over the state of Washington. I will take the next 60 days to dive deeper into employees’ stories and experiences, provide financial education at every opportunity, and test and tune our sales and service delivery strategy.

Finally, with help from the IT team at Salal, the reporting aspect of my project is materializing quickly, and will be covering these bases:

  • On-site production report – a quantitative summary of products and services delivered
  • Guaranteed Visa credit card portfolio report – to monitor and manage the performance of this promotional portfolio

Join Me
To keep you informed about the progress of my project, I will be posting updates and pictures in my blog over the next 60 days, and linking notifications through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Finally, while it has been my deliberate effort to exclude political viewpoints about cannabis, this fact is clear: cannabis is a huge industry and has social and community-related implications as it rapidly continues to legalize. I believe we have the obligation to learn more about cannabis, normalize viewpoints and differentiate fact from fiction. Therefore, every day beginning August 1st, I will Tweet a “canna-fact” in hopes of sparking dialogue and your interest!

Join me on Twitter (@Michaelb4NTCUE) and LinkedIn (michael-bishop-09493076) to follow me on this journey, and Click Here to view my original Serving Cannabis project video.

Thank you for your support and time,

Michael Bishop