BC credit union receives award for cannabis campaign

| Staff

A BC credit union has received two awards for a campaign that highlights the unequal treatment of cannabis businesses by banks in Canada.

Community Savings Credit Union, which operates seven branches across British Columbia, recently received two awards from the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA) annual award ceremony.

Many cannabis companies in Canada have long found it difficult to find and keep a bank or other lending institution even to allow them to maintain an account. Community Savings Credit Union is one of a handful of organizations that have actually worked to create solutions for cannabis companies turned away by other institutions. They even recently launched an account specifically for micro-cannabis licence holders.

The awards were given out at the annual CMA Awards, recognizing the best in Canadian marketing, including the top campaigns of the year. 

A press release from Community Savings says the campaign raised awareness of the inequitable and unfair treatment cannabis businesses face from mainstream financial institutions and highlighted how the lack of access to banking services limits the sector’s growth in Canada. Community Savings was recognized with two awards for its creative campaigns and advocacy. 

“Fees for cannabis businesses with traditional banks were (and still are) high,” continues the release. “Cannabis businesses face either outright refusals to open accounts, or overpriced application costs and high banking fees—fees tend to run from 1,500% to 5,000% higher for a cannabis business compared to other retail businesses.”

Community Savings says they created their own unique direct mailing campaigns, including ‘Roll with us’, featuring custom-branded rolling papers, and ‘Does your bank deliver?’, featuring custom-printed pizza-scented pizza boxes with a ‘menu’ detailing Community Savings’ account offerings. 

Alongside these direct mail campaigns, Community Savings also used media engagement and influencers to further its message of support for the cannabis industry, raising awareness of what they say is the prejudiced treatment of cannabis businesses.

Mike Schilling, President and CEO of Community Savings, said: “There is a serious side to our campaigns that have fun with cannabis culture. We meet too many businesses in the industry that are being exploited and paying up to 5,000% more than they should for a simple account. We treat cannabis retailers like any other small business, with best-in-class service and products. 

“This campaign isn’t only about the cannabis industry—it is about equal access to fair and affordable banking services. Community Savings will continue to advocate for what is right and what is fair, and supporting the cannabis industry is just the beginning.”

For more on cannabis banking, visit www.comsavings.com/rollwithus.