Bank halts NRA credit card, car rental firm ends discount
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The nation’s largest privately-owned bank holding company and a major car rental chain said Thursday they will stop promotions aimed at National Rifle Association members.
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.
Separately, car rental company Enterprise said its three brands would end a discount program for NRA members.
Both companies released their statements dozens of times on Twitter in response to calls for them to sever ties with the NRA. Some Twitter users who identified themselves as customers pledged to take their business elsewhere.
The announcements came after the progressive news website ThinkProgress listed them as companies that support 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!” It also noted Enterprise “offers members an unspecified discount.”
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.
Twitter accounts for Enterprise and its two other brands, Alamo and National, tweeted late Thursday: “All three of our brands have ended the discount for NRA members. This change will be effective March 26.”
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 wasn’t 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 writers Sarah Skidmore Sell in Portland, Oregon and Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong contributed to this report.
Follow Grant Schulte on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GrantSchulte