Federal Reserve Bank denies Colorado pot credit union

A Denver-based credit union aiming to become the first of its kind — one created to serve the Colorado marijuana industry — has suffered a setback. The Fourth Corner Credit Union’s application for a “master account” has been denied by the Federal Reserve Bank.

UPDATE: Get details on the lawsuits Fourth Corner Credit Union has filed against federal agencies.

Approval would have paved the way for a new era for the state’s cannabis industry, which has been forced to rely on cash because it is still illegal under federal law, a fact that has led almost all banks to refuse to open accounts.

The Fed’s branch in Kansas City, which has been reviewing the application since November, gave it a thumb’s down earlier this month, according to a New York Times story posted online Thursday night.

Mark Mason, an attorney who represents the credit union confirmed the application denial.

The credit union has filed a lawsuit in response to the setback.

“The Fourth Corner Credit Union (“TFCCU”) sued the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and the National Credit Union Administration in federal court in Denver to get a fair and impartial hearing on its request for a master account,” Mason said by e-mail Thursday night.

“TFCCU looks forward to having this matter ruled upon by a federal judge.”

Although Fourth Corner has a Colorado charter to operate, it cannot formally open its doors until it has the master account.

Kieran Nicholson: 303-954-1822, knicholson@denverpost.com or twitter.com/kierannicholson

This story was first published on DenverPost.com