American Express (AXP) is a financial services institution whose market spans more than 130 countries and 87.9 million credit card customers. Based on this customer base, the transaction volume is an estimated $620 billion as of 2009. The size of transaction volume makes American Express the larges credit card issuer in the world. As a global provider of credit card services, the company generates about $24.5 annually in revenue. The two main sources of revenue are from merchant fees in addition to interest and annual fees card customers pay on individual accounts. Although American Express is a financial services company, the company applied for recognition as a financial holding company. On November 10, 2008, The Federal Reserve announced the petition for recognition as a holding company filed by American Express was accepted. This new recognition allows the company to engage in banking indirectly by hold ownership stakes in banks.
The founding of American Express (AXP) originates to Albany, New York where the company originally operated as an express mail service started by the same founders of Wells Fargo & Co. The delivery service grew to include a national network or rail and other delivery services around the country causing the stock price to appreciate. This growth led American Express to move the company headquarters to New York City where operations expanded into the money order and traveler's check business. However, the delivery service came under legal scrutiny on federal charges of monopoly in the early 20th century. The delivery business was eventually lost in the forced restructuring of the company. Despite the loss of the delivery service business, American Express stock price became more stable whilst the company continued to grow its financial services business. By 1958, American Express (AXP) launched a credit card with a $6 annual fee and enthusiasm from customers. Although the original cards were paper, American Express (AXP) was the first credit card company to issue the now familiar plastic embossed cards, which became an industry standard.In 1986 American Express (AXP) established its headquarters directly across from the World Trade Center. The headquarters building was severely damaged in the terrorist attacks in 2001 forcing the company to move until 2002 when repairs to the building were complete.
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