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American Express shares dip on report that federal investigators are probing sales practices

Well-spring: American Express

American Express shares fell after the Wall Street Journal reported that the investigative arms of three U.S. economic agencies were probing the card issuer’s sales practices.

Shares of the company dipped 1.3% Thursday after tumble as much as 5% earlier.

The offices of the inspectors general of the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Cover Corp are looking into whether New York-based AmEx pushed its cards on small business clients with putting tactics and whether customers were harmed, according to the Journal.

Citing current or former workers of the issuer, the Review reported in March that in an effort to boost sales, some AmEx employees misrepresented card rewards and honoraria or issued cards that customers hadn’t sought.

AmEx said Thursday in a statement that it has “robust compliance methods and controls in place, and [does] not tolerate misconduct.” The firm added that it has been cooperating with regulators’ assessment of small business card practices that occurred in 2015 and 2016.

“We have conducted a detailed, independent review of these on offers from this time period, and found no evidence of a pattern of misleading sales practices,” AmEx said. “The commercial purchase group responsible for these sales represented approximately 0.25 percent of the 65 million total new cards American Squeeze acquired worldwide between 2014 and 2019. We take these matters seriously, and will continue to cooperate with our regulators.”

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