Federal Investigators Examine AmEx Card Selling Practices



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Federal investigators are investigating business card sales practices at American Express Co., according to people familiar with the matter.

The offices of the Inspectors General of the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve are investigating whether AmEx used aggressive and deceptive sales tactics to sell cards to business owners and whether customers were harmed, the people said. They are also looking at whether specific employees contributed to the alleged behavior and whether senior employees supported it, some people said.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is also investigating business card sales practices at AmEx, according to people familiar with the matter.

More than a dozen current and former AmEx employees have previously told the Wall Street Journal that some salespeople have heavily armed or misled small business owners into signing up for cards to increase sales . Some sellers have distorted rewards and card fees, or issued cards that customers have not sought, they said. A spokesperson for AmEx said at the time that the company found only a very small number of issues, which were resolved “promptly and appropriately”, including through disciplinary action.

“We have robust policies and compliance controls in place, and tolerate no fault,” an AmEx spokesperson said this week.

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