First National Bank of Omaha has decided to drop its credit card partnership with the National Rifle Association.

The $20 billion-asset bank said in company-issued tweets that “customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA. As a result, First National Bank of Omaha will not renew its contract with the National Rifle Association to issue the NRA Visa card.”

The bank tweeted the message on Thursday afternoon to several people who complained about its relationship with the NRA.

A company spokesman declined to make additional comments. The bank also declined to provide additional information in response to tweets from consumers asking when the relationship would be terminated.

National Rifle Association, NRA logo
First National of Omaha is taking both praise and heat for its decision to sever its relationship with the NRA.

First National of Omaha is one of the largest U.S. credit card issuers. The bank held $5.9 billion in credit card loans as of Dec. 31, according to BankRegData.com.

Pressure from outside groups may have contributed to the Nebraska bank’s decision.

Earlier in the week, ThinkProgress, a news site owned by liberal advocacy group The Center for American Progress, included First National of Omaha in a list of companies that provide discounts and other rewards to NRA members. Others included the identity theft-prevention firm LifeLock and car-rental firms like Hertz and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. ThinkProgress contacted all of the firms named in its listing to ask if they intended to retain their NRA partnerships.

ThinkProgress noted language used in First National of Omaha’s advertising that said owning the card ensures “legislative action in support of your Second Amendment rights.”

By Thursday afternoon, some were cheering First National of Omaha's decision.

But others decried the move.

Media pundits have suggested changes should be made to U.S. gun laws, and attempted to draw banks into the fray. A business columnist for The New York Times proposed that banks and credit card companies should stop processing gun sales, a move that would essentially equate to an end-around of the political system.

The women’s advocacy group UltraViolet on Thursday also demanded that Visa, Mastercard and “other major credit and bank card companies” refuse to process sales from retailers that sell assault weapons.

Andy Peters

Andy Peters

Andy Peters writes about regional banks, consumer finance and debt collections for American Banker.