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American Express -


									SYLVAN DUNKLEY                               MOT200/1                         Page 1 of 4
ID 197733                                  (917) 521-2857

                                         American Express

        American Express Company, together with its subsidiaries, operates as a
payments, network, and travel company worldwide. 1The company issues cards to
consumers, small businesses, and corporations through its own network, as well as by
third party banks and other institutions in approximately 45 currencies. American Express
offer individual consumer charge cards, revolving credit cards, and various American
Express issues travelers checks; various prepaid products, including gift cards, gift
cheques, dining cards; and various incentive prepaid products. American Express also
provides expense management services to approximately 100,000 firms through its
corporate card program, corporate purchasing solutions, and business travel services. Its
travel services include travel reservation advice and booking transaction processing;
travel expense management policy consultation; supplier negotiation and consultation;
management information reporting, data analysis and benchmarking; and foreign
exchange and international payment services. The company, through American Express
Bank, offers various investment management, trust, estate planning, and banking
services; saving and investment products; various correspondent banking products,
including international payments processing, trade-related payments and financing, cash
management, loans, extensions of credit, and investment products; distributes mutual
funds; provides treasury and capital market products. In addition, the company publishes
luxury lifestyle magazines; travel and business resources; various general interest,
cooking, wine, financial, and time management books; international magazine editions.
American Express also operates various Web sites, such as,,,,, and American
Express was founded in 1850 and is headquartered in New York City.

       The Chief Executive Officer, Chair American Mr. Kenneth I. Chenault man of
the Executive Committee is Mr. Kenneth I. Chenault and the Chairman of American
Express Travel Related Services Mr. Gary L. Crittenden , Chief Financial Officer,
Head of Global Network Services and Exec. VP. Mr. Edward P. Gilligan, Group Pres of
American Express International & Global Corp. Services. Again American Express is
headquartered in New York City at:

         American      Express       Company
          World Financial     Center
          200    Vesey Street
          New York NY 10285
          United States
         Fulltime employees – 65,800

    Yahoo, profile on American Express in My Yahoo
SYLVAN DUNKLEY                          MOT200/1                           Page 2 of 4
ID 197733                             (917) 521-2857
    American Express was founded in 1850 by Henry Wells, William Fargo, and John
Butterfield as an express business. In 1882, American Express launched its money order
business to compete with the US Post Office's money orders. This product quickly spread
to Europe where no such financial product existed.

    Sometime between 1888 and 1890, J. C. Fargo took a trip to Europe and returned
frustrated and infuriated. Despite the fact that he was president of American Express and
that he carried with him traditional letters of credit, he found it difficult to obtain cash
anywhere except in major cities. Mr. Fargo went to Marcellus Flemming Berry and asked
him to create a better solution than the traditional letter of credit. Mr. Berry created the
American Express Travelers Cheque which was launched in 1891 in denominations of
$10, $20, $50, and $100.

    The travelers cheque established American Express as a truly international company
and in 1915 they announced the establishment of a travel department and soon
established its first travel agencies. This was not the firm's first foray into this field,
however. In 1914, at the outbreak of the First World War, American Express offices in
Europe were among the few companies to honor the letters of credit (issued by various
banks) held by Americans in Europe, despite other financial institutions having refused to
assist these stranded travellers.

    During the winter of 1917 the US suffered a severe coal shortage and on December
26 President Woodrow Wilson commandeered the railroads on behalf of the US
government to move US troops, their supplies, and coal. Treasury Secretary William
Gibbs McAdoo was assigned the task of consolidating the railway lines for the war effort.
All contracts between express companies and railroads were nullified and McAdoo
proposed that all existing express companies be consolidated into a single company to
serve the country's needs. This ended American Express's express business. The result
was a new company called the American Railway Express Agency company formed in
July 1918. The new entity took custody of all the pooled equipment and property of
existing express companies (the largest share of which, 40%, came from American
Express who had owned 71,280 miles of railroad lines, 10,000 offices, with over 30,000

    American Express executives discussed the possibility of launching a travel charge
card as early as 1946, but it was not until Diners Club launched their own card in March
1950 that American Express began to seriously consider the possibility. At the end of
1957 American Express CEO Ralph Reed decided to get into the card business, and by
the launch date of October 1, 1958 public interest had become so significant that they
actually issued 250,000 cards prior to the official launch date. The card was launched
with an annual fee of $6, $1 higher than Diners Club, to be seen as a premium product.
The first cards were paper, with the account number and card member’s name typed. It
was not until 1959 that American Express began issuing embossed ISO 7810 plastic
cards, an industry first.
SYLVAN DUNKLEY                          MOT200/1                            Page 3 of 4
ID 197733                             (917) 521-2857
    In 1966 American Express introduced the Gold Card and in 1984 the Platinum Card,
clearly defining different market segments within its own business, a practice that has
proliferated across a broad array of industries. The Platinum Card was billed as super-
exclusive and had a $250 annual fee. It was offered by invitation only to American
Express customers with at least 2 years of tenure, significant spending, and excellent
payment history.

   In 1987, American Express introduced the Optima card, their first revolving credit
product. Previously, all American Express cards had to be paid in full each month, but
Optima allowed customers to carry a balance, which is now commonplace among most
American Express cards (with the exception of the traditional green, gold, platinum, and
Centurion cards, which remain charge cards). Although Optima are no longer heavily
promoted, an upgraded Optima Platinum is still available on the American Express

    In 1994, the Optima True Grace card was introduced. The card was unique in that it
offered a grace period on ALL purchases whether a balance was carried on the card or
not (as opposed to traditional revolving credit cards which charge interest on new
purchases if so much as $1 was carried over.) The card was discontinued a few years
later; however, the currently-available one from American Express card offers a similar
feature called "Interest Protection".

    In 1999 American Express introduced the Centurion Card or "black card" catering to
an even more affluent and elite customer segment. It charged a $1,000 annual fee at the
time of its introduction (today, it is $2,500), and offered (and continues to offer) a variety
of exclusive benefits. There have always been rumors of a super-exclusive card that gives
American Express' richest and most powerful customers special perks. It was this rumor
that sparked the launch of Centurion.

   Also in 1999, the company introduced Blue from American Express, which quickly
became a popular card among young adults. Based on a successful product for the
European market, Blue had no annual fee, a rewards program, and a multi-functional
onboard chip. A cash back version, "Blue Cash", quickly followed.

   More recently, in 2006, the UK division of American Express began to issue its Red
Card. With each card member purchase the company contributes to good causes through
The Global Fund to help African women and children suffering from HIV/AIDS, malaria
and other diseases. If successful, this program will soon be introduced in other national
markets as well.

    In April 1986 American Express moved its headquarters to the American Express
Tower, the center of the World Financial Center in New York City. The 51-story building
was an architectural triumph and noted as a significant and important addition to the city.
After the events of September 11, 2001, American Express had to leave its headquarters
temporarily as the building was damaged during the fall of the towers since it's located
directly across the street from the World Trade Center. The American Express tower
SYLVAN DUNKLEY                        MOT200/1                           Page 4 of 4
ID 197733                           (917) 521-2857
became the backdrop to efforts in rescue, recovery, and reconstruction at Ground Zero.
The company began gradually moving back into its rehabilitated building in 2002.

   Amex Canada is based just north of Toronto, in the City of Markham.

    American Express has its European Headquarters in Brighton, a large 1970's built
white tower block, surrounded by several other smaller offices around the city. There is
also a significant UK office in London at Belgrave House on Buckingham Palace Road,
SW1; other important UK offices are based in Sussex at Burgess Hill.

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