Investing

AmEx Card Write-offs Fall to 2009 Low


By Peter Eichenbaum

(Bloomberg) — American Express Co. (AXP), the top gainer in the Dow Jones Industrial Average this year, said credit-card defaults and late payments fell to 2009 lows as the lender continued to outperform competitors.

Managed net write-offs dropped to 7.6 percent in November from 7.8 percent in October, the seventh straight monthly decline, the New York-based bank said today in a regulatory filing. Loans at least 30 days overdue, a signal of future defaults, dipped to 3.9 percent from 4.1 percent.

AmEx was the only one of six U.S. credit-card issuers that released data today to post declines in both write-offs and delinquencies. The stock fell 24 cents to $41.04 at 2:56 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares had gained 123 percent on the year through yesterday.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), the biggest credit-card lender, said defaults climbed to a 2009 high of 8.81 percent from 8.02 percent in October. Delinquencies fell to 4.9 percent from 4.95 percent, New York-based JPMorgan said.

Defaults at Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the No. 2 card lender, fell to 13 percent from 13.22 percent, while late payments increased to 7.69 percent from 7.59 percent, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said in a federal filing.

Citigroup Inc. (C), the third-biggest issuer, said defaults climbed to 10.29 percent from 8.79 percent, the first increase since August. Loans at least 35 days overdue rose to 5.81 percent from 5.67 percent, the New York-based bank said.

Capital One, DiscoverCapital One Financial Corp. (COF), the third-biggest issuer of Visa Inc. credit cards, posted increases in defaults and delinquencies. Write-offs climbed to 9.6 percent from 9.04 percent, and payments at least 30 days overdue rose to 5.87 percent from 5.72 percent, McLean, Virginia-based Capital One said.

Write-offs at Discover Financial Services (DFS) increased to 8.98 percent from 8.54 percent, while overdue loans declined to 5.65 percent from 5.72 percent, the Riverwoods, Illinois-based lender said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Eichenbaum in New York at peichenbaum@bloomberg.net.

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