American Express

Daniel T. Henry, CFO of American Express, speaking about competition on the earnings call last week:

...we have had the premium space for a very long time and the conversation of competitors wanting to move into our space was true 10 years ago as it is today. I mean it’s a set of customers that everybody wants to have and so they work hard to achieve that. Now if we stand still you know they would move right past us and take our customers. But we are diligent in terms of thinking about how we can improve the value proposition in our products. You can see that in the way we’ve built our membership rewards for instance, to continue to make it a premium program. You know we continue to be extremely diligent on servicing because servicing is a very, very important aspect. You may have seen that we were rated #1 in customer service by J. D. Power. And that’s really a reflection of the fact that we’ve always viewed servicing to be very important. So we know that the competition is coming after us. We’re aware of that. And we will continue to be diligent.

You know if you look at you know the actual data, for instance if you look at average spending of our cardmembers compared to the competition, you know it’s significantly higher today. It was significantly higher five years ago and that really has not eroded over that time. So I think we’ve been successful.

American Express was able to earn over $ 500 million in the quarter in this depressed environment.

Unless their is another shock to the global economic system, those earning should normalize over the next 18 months with just a minor uptick in billed business and reduced default rates.

Here's the transcript for the Q3 2009 conference call.

Here's the slide presentation used on that call.

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