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Financial companies generally earn lower ROA than non-financial companies, but they are able to use more leverage which makes up for it in ROE. (In the current low interest rate environment, financial companies have lower ROE compared to their historical average, and compared to more profitable industries.)

Please correct me if any of these numbers are wrong.

GE Industrial 8.1% N/A (they don't need any tangible equity)
GE Capital 1.4% 12.1%
GE 2.4% 25.9%

DE Industrial 12.9% 43.8%
DE Financial 2.2% 17.9%
DE 5.9% 33.9%

So you can see their industrial arms are very good businesses. The financial arms aren't quite as good but they still compare favorably to many banks and non-bank lenders. Also note that there are strong synergies between industrial and industrial lending. (Less so at GE where some parts of GE Capital like consumer finance and real estate are not really core to their business.)
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