First National Bank to halt production of NRA credit card
By GRANT SCHULTE
Feb. 23, 2018
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The nation's largest privately-owned bank holding company will stop producing credit cards for the National Rifle Association in response to customer feedback, a spokesman said Thursday.
The Nebraska-based First National Bank of Omaha will not renew its contract to issue the group's NRA Visa Card, spokesman Kevin Langin said in a statement.
"Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA," Langin said.
Langin declined to say when the contract would expire and would not elaborate on what sort of feedback the company had received. The company released the same statement dozens of times on Twitter in response to other users who called on the company to sever its ties with the NRA. Some users who identified themselves as customers pledged to take their business elsewhere.
The announcement came after the progressive news website ThinkProgress listed the bank as a company that supports the NRA. ThinkProgress noted that First National Bank offered two NRA cards, each with a $40 bonus, and touted it as "enough to reimburse your one-year NRA membership!"
On Thursday, the bank webpage that advertised the NRA card had been disabled. A cached version of the site touted the card as "the official credit card of the NRA" and noted the benefits of membership.
The NRA credit cards are part of a larger business in which the bank issues cards branded with organizations' logos, such as the sporting-goods store Scheels and the Best Western hotel chain.
The NRA has faced intense criticism following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida that left 17 people dead, the latest in a string of high-profile mass killings in the U.S.
An NRA spokeswoman referred questions Thursday to the group's licensing department. A phone message left with that office was not immediately returned.
A group that tracks the credit industry said the move could carry significant risks for First National Bank of Omaha.
"Many will applaud the move, but NRA members are famously loyal and the organization has shown itself as being very good at mobilizing its members," said Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. "However, banks are in the business of managing risks of all kinds, and First National clearly sees this as one they're willing to take."
First National Bank has banks in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.
Associated Press writer Sarah Skidmore Sell contributed from Portland, Oregon.
Follow Grant Schulte on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GrantSchulte