American Express Reports $1.1 Billion Profit

American Express reported its third-quarter earnings and reported net income of $1.1 billion, down 10% from a year ago. Total net revenues were $7.8 billion for the quarter, down 5% from last year.

“Strong operating discipline and credit quality helped to keep us ahead of the 2016 financial outlook that we first provided at the beginning of the year,” said Kenneth Chenault, American Express Chairman and CEO. “While reported revenues were down 5 percent, we saw underlying revenue growth of 5 percent after adjusting for the absence of Costco-related business this quarter – slightly faster than comparable second-quarter levels.3 Adjusted billed business was up 7 percent, adjusted loan growth remained healthy and net card fees rose 10 percent, reflecting strong performance across our premium card portfolios.

“The underlying performance reflected our broad, diversified business model as well as the relationships we’ve built over many years with Card Members who value the range of benefits and service that come with membership. Strength in our consumer business, growth internationally, the benefits of a larger merchant network and a broader presence among smaller and mid-sized companies offset softness in spending by large corporate Card accounts.

“Separate from our operating results,” Mr. Chenault said, “we received a favorable ruling in our ongoing antitrust litigation with the U.S. Department of Justice. By reversing an earlier lower court decision, the appellate judges upheld provisions within our merchant contracts that protect consumer choice, support competition and allow us to deliver superior products and services to our customers.

“Going forward we remain focused on three priorities: accelerate revenue growth, reset our cost base and optimize our investments.” Mr. Chenault added, “We’re making progress on initiatives that include a renewed emphasis on our Platinum Card portfolios, which provide service, access and benefits that have been the benchmark of value for more than 30 years.  We’re launching our most extensive campaign yet to build on the success of Small Business Saturday and drive additional spending at neighborhood businesses in a way that leverages the ongoing expansion of our merchant network in the U.S.   In addition, we’re going to continue to utilize digital marketing capabilities that helped to bring on a record 5.9 million new cards across our U.S. issuing businesses and 8.5 million cards globally this year.  With these and other initiatives coming together at the start of the peak shopping season, we expect it to be a very active fourth quarter and we’ll be supporting all of our work with an extensive advertising campaign.