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Interesting Read

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It  sounded like a routine business deal, a manufacturing company applies for - and  receives- a credit account with a big-box home supply company. Then, a few days  later, word from the big-box company's credit card supplier telling them the  account was voided.

Concerned, company officials inquired into the  decision. After all, credit is one of the most valuable things a company can  have. The response at first stunned, and then infuriated them. The company's  credit was fine, no problem whatsoever.

The problem was summed up in a  single phrase "Our policy restricts us from lending to businesses in your  industry." The letter doesn't name the industry, but they only make products for  - you guessed it: firearms.

It's a story that we're tracking right now,  and we'll have all the details, including the groups who are considering taking  actions on several fronts against the big-box retailer and their credit card  company, just as soon as the big box retailer and credit card company choose to  exercise the opportunity to tell their side of the story- or not. If there's a  policy against "your industry" and you're only in a single industry.... you get  the point; we'll get the story...and keep you posted.

And it's a final  countdown to the fall elections....and the National Shooting Sports Foundation  is reminding all of us that we need to get out and vote. While "polls and  pundits" are predicting a sea change in American politics, nothing will happen  if we all don't exercise our Constitutional obligation to cast votes for the  candidates of our choice. It really the time when one person can vote - and make  a difference -or not, and simply float along with the tide. Whatever your  position on any issue-if you don't vote, you don't count.

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Heres the rest of the story from Outdoor Wire

The Politics of Credit

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's  warm-getting-cool and the leaves are changing. The smells of Fall are  in the air. Hunting seasons are on or soon here and it's the hunting  industry's time of the year. While I'm aware of Spring turkey seasons  and such, Fall is harvest time on more than one level.

The Warne  Scope Mounts Company of Oregon was doing business - the manufacture of  scope mounts and components thereof. They've had some exciting products  out recently, including one I'll be putting to the test soon. While in  the process of doing business, Charles Lake, President of Warne Scope  Mounts, submitted an application from the company for a business line of  credit to purchase materials to make work benches as well as to  purchase appliances, to the Home Depot. Nothing Home Depot sells Warne  is used in their products.

The credit line was approved on  September 28. On the 29th, Mr. Lake received a call from the Home Depot  credit department saying the line of credit was rescinded. He asked if  it was something in the company's credit rating. "No," he was told.  "It's because of the industry you are in."

Mr. Lake asked for the  specific problem as Warne just makes parts, not guns or ammo. According  to Mr. Wilcox, a Company VP, the response was, "You make parts for the  gun industry."

Mr. Lake had his office manager called the  national credit department to ask about the rescission. He was told that  is their policy.

A letter, dated September 30, 2010, was  received October 4. It confirmed that the "account was opened in error .  . ." going on to say, "Our policy restricts us from lending to  businesses in your industry." Oddly, a disclaimer appears at the base of  the letter, saying that federal law prohibits discrimination in lending  "on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital  status, age; because all or part of the applicant's income derives from  any public assistance program . . ." The letter was from Home Depot  Credit Services, Citibank (South Dakota), N.A., Creditor.

Warne  Scope Mounts makes scope mounts and associated hardware. They don't make  firearms, ammunition, magazines, barrels, bolts, sling swivels, springs  or anything else. Founded in 1991, Warne employs approximately 50  people who are involved in manufacture and shipping of the several  hundred thousand mount sets that are sold per year. A considerable part  of their business is OEM for many of the top industry rifle and scope  companies.

On October 5, I had email contact with Mr. Stephen  Holmes, Senior Manager of Corporate Communications for Home Depot. He  said Home Depot had "(n)o such policy" and that the company doesn't  "actually manage all the backend parts of the card."

Later, I  received another message from Mr. Holmes. He stated that Citi's rules  apply to all of the retailers that carry their private label credit  card, not just The Home Depot accounts. "As such," he wrote, "we have  absolutely no input on the criteria they use to assess credit risk or  credit worthiness."

I contacted Citi's media wing to attempt to  get their side of the story. Elizabeth Fogarty, Citi Public Affairs  answered with the following prepared statement:

"Citi does not  prohibit the financing of firearms purchases by individuals nor the  financing of businesses that manufacture and sell them to individuals  for recreational use. However, we do prohibit financing merchants in the  non-ancillary military equipment industry, including the financing of  businesses that manufacture and or sell firearms for military use. While  we do not discuss individual credit applications, we are always open to  reviewing particular decisions when appropriate to ensure the policy is  applied correctly."

Unfamiliar with the term "non-ancillary  military equipment," I asked for clarification. The response was that  "the policy prohibits financing businesses that manufacture and/or sell  firearms for military use."

Somehow, I feel the story doesn't end here. As always, we'll keep you posted.

--Rich Grassi

Grassi is editor of The Tactical Wire

EDITOR'S  NOTE: Does a policy that prohibits financing businesses that  manufacture and/or sell firearms for military use" mean that Citi  wouldn't extend credit to Smith & Wesson, Remington, Winchester,  Federal, or any of the many other companies in the firearms industry?  We'll find out - and let you know

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Sadly - like the small businesses that won't serve people who legally carry firearms - this is becoming more and more "public," for lack of a more clear term.  I can't exactly recall when or what I read, somewhat recent though, another bank lending institution that turned down a firearms-related company for a business account. 

One shining example that I can recall is PayPal.  Due to their policy on firearms, GunPal was born.  <thumbsup>

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