Seattle: Cannabis banking startup Shield Compliance announces key hires

Seattle-based cannabis banking startup Shield Compliance is beefing up its staff. The company announced three new hires on Tuesday: Cami CantrellMelissa Timmer and Lauren Potts.

Cantrell is the new executive vice president of payments and strategic alliances. Before her role at Shield, Cantrell spent more than 12 years at the Republic Bank of Chicago.

Timmer is the company’s client success project manager. She has 20 years of banking experience, the company said.

Potts, meanwhile, has joined the company as a business analyst. Before Shield, Potts was a cannabis examiner for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.

“As more states legalize adult-use cannabis, a growing number of banks and credit unions are entering the cannabis banking space to serve a critical public safety role while gaining the financial rewards of this line of business,” Tony Repanich, president and chief operating officer at Shield, said in an announcement. “We are very excited to be in a position to expand our team and benefit from the expertise of these talented individuals.”

Shield, founded in 2014, helps banks and credit unions deal with the risks and regulations that come with serving cannabis businesses. The company offers services in anti-money laundering compliance and client onboarding. Shield’s clients include Salal Credit Union, Credit Union 1 and KeyPoint Credit Union.

As more and more states legalize cannabis, technology serving the industry is becoming more mainstream. Seattle-based online cannabis marketplace Leafly, for example, is hiring and plans to go public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company later this year. Its website has more than 125 million annual visitors, according to the company.

“Cannabis being deemed an essential business, that’s huge,” Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita previously told the Business Journal. “Retailers, depending on the state, some had to shut down in-person operations and were forced to go to curbside. What that meant was the only way consumers could access cannabis was if they reserved online in advance and picked up. You can imagine tools like ours take on a significance that was outsized compared to what we were seeing.”

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