Long considered one of the most trusted borrowers in debt markets, General Electric Co. was pushed to the brink of distress by its finance unit during the 2008 credit crisis. Jeffrey Immelt never forgot that lesson.
The company said Friday it will exit most lending operations and focus on its industrial roots. The move jettisons a business that has been bogged down by post-crisis regulations and six years of near-zero interest rates. But it also underscores the eagerness to divorce operations that cost GE its cherished AAA credit rating and forced the company to cut its dividend for the first time since 1938.