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American Express Third Quarter EPS Up 15% To $1.25; Revenues, Card Member Spending And Loans Continue To Grow

Adjusted for foreign currency translations, consolidated total revenues net of interest expense rose 7 percent from a year ago. 2

Consolidated provisions for losses totaled $492 million, up 3 percent from $479 million a year ago. This increase reflects lower reserve releases from a year ago, partially offset by the benefit of lower net write-offs in the current quarter. Credit indicators continued to be at historically strong levels.

Consolidated expenses totaled $5.8 billion, up 5 percent from $5.5 billion last year. The increase primarily reflects a rise in rewards and marketing costs, as well as higher operating expenses. 3

Adjusted for foreign currency translations, consolidated total expenses were up 6 percent from a year ago. 2

The effective tax rate was 32 percent, down from 33 percent from a year ago.

The company's return on average equity (ROE) was 24.3 percent, down from 26.3 percent a year ago.

“Despite an uncertain environment, we generated a healthy increase in revenues and stronger Card Member spending across all regions this quarter,” said Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and chief executive officer. “Spending on our global network rose 7 percent (9 percent adjusted for currency translations) and Card Member loans continued the modest growth rates we have been seeing for the past several quarters.

“Credit quality indicators remained at historically strong levels,” said Mr. Chenault. “And, year to date, we are delivering on the annual targets we set to contain operating costs.

“The combination of top-line growth, credit quality, a strong capital position and continued vigilance on expenses produced a 15 percent increase in earnings per share. It also gave us the flexibility to make substantial investments this quarter in marketing and other initiatives to position our business for the years ahead.”

Segment Results

U.S. Card Services reported third-quarter net income of $782 million, up 12 percent from $699 million a year ago.

Total revenues net of interest expense increased 6 percent to $4.3 billion, from $4.1 billion a year ago. The increase reflects an 8 percent increase in Card Member spending and a rise in net interest income, driven primarily by 4 percent growth in average Card Member loans.

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