American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Jan 24, 2020 • 08:30 am ET

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American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the American Express Q4 2019 Earnings Call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session. Please note that the instructions for entering the queue have changed. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Head of Investor Relations, Ms. Rosie Perez. Please go ahead.

Executive
Rosie Perez

Thank you, Lea, and thank you all for joining today's call. As a reminder, before we begin, today's discussion contains forward-looking statements about the company's future business and financial performance. These are based on management's current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are included in today's presentation slides and in our reports on file with the SEC. The discussion today also contains non-GAAP financial measures. The comparable GAAP financial measures are included in this quarter's earnings material as well as the materials for the prior periods we discussed. All of these are posted on our website at ir.americanexpress.com.

We'll begin today with Steve Squeri, Chairman and CEO, who will start with some remarks about the company's progress and results, and then Jeff Campbell, Chief Financial Officer, will provide a more detailed review of our performance. After that, we'll move to a Q&A session on the results with both Steve and Jeff.

With that, let me turn it over to Steve.

Executive
Stephen J. Squeri

Thanks, Rosie. Good morning. I'm pleased to report that our 2019 fourth quarter and full-year results continued the steady consistent performance that we've delivered over the past two years. Our strong top-line growth continued with revenues growing 9% in the quarter. This marked our 10th straight quarter of FX adjusted revenue growth at or above 8%. Once again, our revenue growth was broad-based, driven by well-balanced mix of fees, spend and lend. We added 11.5 million new proprietary cards in 2019, delivered solid billings growth, and continued to grow loans while maintaining industry-leading credit metrics.

These results show that our strategy of investing in share, scale and relevance is working. This strategy is the heart of our financial model and it gives us confidence that in today's economic environment, we can sustain high levels of revenue growth, which is a foundation for steady double-digit earnings growth. My confidence in our ability to generate consistent, solid results over the longer-term is based on several factors. The fundamental strengths we derived from our differentiated business model, the significant growth opportunities we see across our business and our demonstrated success in executing our investment strategy against the four strategic imperatives I laid out two years ago.

Let me take a few minutes to share some of the highlights of the progress we made on each of these strategic imperatives in 2019. We expanded our leadership in the premium consumer space by continuing our disciplined strategic approach of refreshing our premium charge products and upgrading our co-brand portfolios globally. In all these cases, we've added