Benefitting from higher cardholder spending and low loss rates, American Express Co. posted record profits for the first quarter.
Amex's U.S. Card Services unit's net income rose 35.5% to $752 million for the quarter ended March 31, from $555 million a year earlier, the firm said in a press release April 18.
Revenue from Card Services grew 8.3% during the quarter to $3.9 billion from $3.6 billion.
Total card billed business rose 12.1% to $107.7 billion from $96.1 billion, while total cards in force rose 2.7% to 41.2 million from 40.1 million.
Amex 's outstanding consumer card loans also grew during the quarter. Total outstanding loans rose 4.5% to $51.4 billion from $49.2 billion, while the charge-off rate on outstanding receivables declined 140 basis points to 2.3% from 3.7% a year ago.
"Credit quality continues to be among the best we have ever experienced, and our lending portfolio continued to grow at moderate levels," Kenneth Chenault, Amex chairman and CEO, said in the release.
Amex's International Card Services net income rose 4.2% to $197 million from $189 million, with revenue up 8.3% to $1.3 billion from $1.2 billion.
Global Commercial Services income declined 3.8% to $177 million from $184 million a year ago, while revenue grew 9.1% to $1.2 billion from $1.1 billion, reflecting higher spending on corporate credit cards.
Global Network & Merchant Services income rose 14.1% to $357 million from $313 million a year earlier, with revenues up 9.1% to $1.2 billion from $1.1 billion.
Overall Amex reported net income of $1.26 billion, up 6.8% from $1.18 billion, with total revenue of $7.6 billion, up 8.6% from $7 billion.