American Express Acknowledges DOJ Review of Card Sales -- 2nd Update
By AnnaMaria Andriotis
American Express Co. acknowledged Friday that government
agencies, including the Department of Justice, have reviewed the
company's sales practices regarding small-business cards.
The company said in a regulatory filing that in May it began
responding to a regulatory review led by the Office of the
Comptroller of the Currency and the DOJ's civil division. AmEx said
the review was connected to "historical sales practices relating to
certain small business card sales."
The Wall Street Journal reported last month that federal
investigators including the inspectors general offices of the
Treasury Department, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Federal
Reserve were investigating AmEx card sales. The investigators were
looking into whether the company used aggressive and misleading
sales tactics to sell cards to business owners and whether
customers were harmed, the Journal reported.
The Justice Department is working with those offices, according
to people familiar with the matter.
The Journal also reported last month that the OCC was
investigating the company's business-card sales practices.
More than a dozen current and former AmEx employees previously
told the Journal that some salespeople strong-armed or misled
small-business owners into signing up for cards to boost sales
numbers. Some salespeople misrepresented card rewards and fees, or
issued cards that customers hadn't sought, they said. AmEx has
previously said it found only a very small number of problems that
were resolved "promptly and appropriately," including through
AmEx said Friday that it had "conducted an internal review of
certain sales from 2015 and 2016" and had "taken appropriate
disciplinary and remedial actions, including voluntarily providing
remediation to certain current and former customers."
AmEx also said in its Friday regulatory filing that it received
a grand-jury subpoena last month from the U.S. attorney's office
for the Eastern District of New York regarding small-business card
sales. It also said it had received a civil investigative demand
from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau "seeking information
on sales practices related to consumers."
The company said in the filing: "We are cooperating with all of
these inquiries and have continued to enhance our controls related
to our sales practices. We do not believe this matter will have a
material adverse impact on our business or results of
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 12, 2021 16:50 ET (21:50 GMT)
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