Atlanta lender changes policy regarding gun companies

- An Atlanta-based small business lender has made a major change to their policy when it comes to working with companies in the gun industry.

Kabbage, an independent, online loan company in Midtown, announced it will no longer do business with companies that manufacture or sell "assault-style" weapons in the wake of the shooting that claimed 17 lives at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. last month.  The company will also not lend money to any business that sells firearms or ammunition to buyers under the age of 21.

"By not doing anything, you're actually doing something," explained Kabbage Co-Founder and CEO Rob Frohwein.  "You're actually funding these businesses, so you're implicitly supporting something that you think is a health and safety issue that's out there and you've got to make a decision as a corporation whether that's something you want to do."

According to Kabbage, about one percent of the 150,000 companies they do business with are in the firearms industry.  So, the policy change could impact several hundred businesses. 

Frohwein said the company will also donate $100,000 to a charity designated by Stoneman Douglas students and match any contributions by employees and customers up to $250,000.

"When you hear these students standing up and really making a stand on this, it really moves you," said Frohwein.

Kabbage is just one of many businesses to take a stand in light of the events in Parkland.  Delta, however, has arguably faced the most backlash.  Lt. Governor Casey Cagle and other high-profile conservatives vowed to kill a fuel tax break for the Atlanta-based airline after the company decided to do away with a travel discount for members of the National Rifle Association.

"I'm tired of conservatives being kicked around on our values and it's time that we stand up and fight and show corporations that conservative values are important," Cagle said last week.

While he knows Kabbage could face some pushback, Frohwein hopes his company's decision will promote constructive dialogue. 

"I think what frustrated me so much about the Lt. Governor's stance is it's not as though he said, 'Here's a solution that I think would work for this problem,' said Frohwein.

Representatives for Lt. Governor Cagle's office and his gubernatorial campaign did not immediately return requests for comment.

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