Big Banks Warm Up to Canadian Cannabis Industry

While cannabis is federally legal in Canada for medicinal purposes, several of the largest banks have avoided the sector, allowing Alterna Savings to become one of the early leaders in providing service to licensed producers (LPs).  Bloomberg reports that some of the “Big 5” in Canada have warmed up, with Toronto-Dominion (TSX: TD) now working with at least nine LPs and Bank of Montreal (TSX: BMO) serving at least a dozen.

Different lenders have been quicker than others to move into this industry, but this is understandable as public perceptions are still evolving. There could be a significant first-mover advantage to the financial institutions that are getting involved with the legal cannabis industry already.

Basem Hanna, CEO of TerrAscend

The big banks aren’t all on board quite yet, as Royal Bank of Canada (TSX: RY) and Bank of Nova Scotia (TSX: BNS) are on the sidelines still. MedReleaf (TSX: LEAF) (OTC: MEDFF) secured a $20mm credit agreement with an undisclosed large Canadian bank that CEO Neil Closner believes may have signaled a change in the industry’s sentiment about serving cannabis companies.

Read Doug Alexander’s “Bank of Montreal and Toronto-Dominion Lead Peers in Pot Accounts”: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-05/bank-of-montreal-toronto-dominion-are-top-canadian-pot-banks

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