ABA survey finds strong support for cannabis banking, overdraft protection

U.S. consumers support cannabis banking, value overdraft protection and believe financial technology companies and credit unions should be held to the same standards as banks, according to a new survey commissioned by the American Bankers Association. Research firm Morning Consult polled 2,211 U.S. adults in mid-September on a wide range of issues affecting the banking industry. Among the findings: Two in three (66%) respondents support Congress passing legislation that allows cannabis businesses to access banking services such as checking accounts and business loans in states where cannabis is legal, while only 16% oppose.

The survey also found most consumers appreciate and value bank overdraft programs. For the third year in a row, nine in 10 respondents (89%) said their bank’s overdraft protection was valuable, and eight in 10 (82%) who have paid an overdraft fee in the past year were glad their bank covered their overdraft payment instead of returning or declining the payment. Sixty-four percent of respondents said it is reasonable for banks to charge a fee for an overdraft, and 76% view overdraft fees as reasonable when large payments like mortgages or rent payments are covered and paid on time. “Consumers continue to tell us that they like overdraft protection and that they believe banks offer it at a reasonable cost,” said ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols. “For those who prefer not to have overdraft protection, banks across the country continue to offer those options, such as simple and easy-to-use Bank On-certified accounts featuring low costs and no overdraft fees.”

In terms of who delivers their banking services, 72% of respondents prefer banks over the federal government and nonbank, nongovernment entities such as financial technology companies and cryptocurrency firms. Most respondents care if the business that handles their finances is regulated like a bank (73%), and the majority (86%) agrees that any business providing bank-like services to consumers should have to comply with the same rules and regulations that banks do.

Consumers believe that credit unions should be held to the same standards as banks. Only 14% of respondents were aware that credit unions do not pay federal taxes. A majority also said credit unions should be subject to community reinvestment reporting requirements that quantify their impact on all segments of their communities, including low- and moderate-income areas, just like banks.