One of the Nation’s largest consumer finance companies will no longer provide consumer credit service to gun shops, citing “tragic events” and a changing financial services industry.
GE Capital, which contracts with American retailers to extend point-of-sale credit to customers, announced Wednesday it would tighten up on a policy it had originally approved in 2008 to “cease providing consumer financing programs to merchants whose primary business is to sell firearms.”
The company is headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., and employs many people who live in nearby Newtown, the site of last December’s school murders. Peter Lanza, the father of alleged shooter Adam Lanza, holds a vice president’s position within the company.
“As a responsible lender, we regularly review our lending policies and products to meet changing conditions and requirements,” said the company’s statement. “In 2008, we adopted a policy to cease providing consumer financing programs to merchants whose primary business is to sell firearms. Recently, we implemented a more rigorous audit process in our sporting goods segment in light of industry changes, new legislation and tragic events that have caused widespread reexamination of policies on firearms. This process has affected less [sic] than 75 retailers…”
Of course, the pullout doesn’t apply to general retailers or sporting goods stores that offer guns as part of their larger consumer inventory. Stores like Wal-Mart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which sell guns, won’t be affected, but local mom-and-pop stores will be.
The company sent letters earlier this month to stores who had agreements, telling owners “GE Capital Retail Bank has made the difficult decision to discontinue offering the GE Capital Sport Finance program to your store(s).” GE also pulled the plug on merchant services accounts for Visa and Mastercard point-of-sale terminals in gun stores that had agreed to go with the company for its credit and debit card-swiping service.
GE Capital isn’t the first finance company to shun those who make their living from gun-related sales and services. In fact, the company’s exit marks the removal of gun stores’ only remaining option for offering consumer financing for their products, according to Bloomberg.