By STEVE LOHR
Published: April 24, 2013
GE Capital, General Electric’s lending arm, recently stopped offering consumer financing programs to retailers whose main business is selling guns, in response to the “industry changes, new legislation and tragic events.”
The move, said a GE Capital spokesman, expanded on a policy established in 2008. That year, GE Capital stopped offering new consumer financing for purchases of guns from gun shops, but existing relationships with gun shops were grandfathered in and those programs continued.
Fewer than 75 retailers are affected by the recent policy change, a fraction of 1 percent of gun retailers in the United States, said the spokesman, Russell Wilkerson. The terminated financing programs, as a business, were “immaterial” to the company, he said.
The lending cutoff applies only to retailers whose primary business is selling guns, Mr. Wilkerson said. GE Capital is still offering financing to other retailers who sell many different kinds of merchandise, including guns. Those retailers range from Walmart to sporting goods chains.
The change in GE Capital’s lending policy to the gun stores was first reported on Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal.
The move by GE Capital comes in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. General Electric, the giant industrial and finance company, is headquartered in Fairfield, Conn., and some employees have children in the Sandy Hook elementary school, where the tragedy occurred. Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook gunman, was the son of Peter Lanza, an executive at General Electric.