July 05, 2004

Hey, Big Spender

Corporate big spenders certainly fit the profile of those that American Express hopes to garner through its bank partnerships. Along those lines, American Express and Deutsche Bank will offer a co-branded American Express corporate card to Deutsche Bank's corporate customers that have a presence in Germany. Through the distribution partnership, Deutsche Bank will also offer its customers American Express' travel and expense management solutions.

The deal resembles a January 2003 partnership with TD Bank Financial Group (Toronto, $215 billion in assets). "It really fits into our overall strategy of developing partnerships with like-minded organizations to distribute our corporate card products, or issue jointly branded products, as part of our overall growth strategy in corporate," says Jean-Luc Durant, VP and head of network development for commercial cards in Europe for American Express.

The partnership did not require a substantial technology investment in the underlying systems behind the expense management solutions. "They will be identical to the American Express proprietary products," Durant says.

But in preparing the company's operational footprint for its expected growth, American Express has undergone significant reengineering over the past few years. "In each of the last three years, we've realized annual benefits over $1 billion from reengineering, and we've targeted another $1 billion for 2004," Chenault said.

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