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Monday, January 26, 2009

Amex: "Harshest operating environment in decades"

by Calculated Risk on 1/26/2009 04:47:00 PM

From the WSJ: AmEx Earnings Drop 79%

"Our fourth-quarter results reflect an operating environment that was among the harshest we have seen in decades," Chief Executive Kenneth I. Chenault said in a statement. He noted overall cardmember spending fell 10% year-over-year, or 5% excluding the impact of foreign-exchange rates.

Chenault added that the credit-card issuer remains cautious about the economic outlook through 2009, with expectations for cardmember spending "to remain soft with past-due loans and write-offs rising from current levels."
Delinquencies of 90 days or more rose to 3.1% of American Express's managed U.S. lending portfolio, from 1.8% in the prior year. The portfolio's write-off rate climbed to 6.7% from 5.9% in the third quarter and 3.4% in the prior year.
In other bleak news, regional bank Zions Bancorp reported a loss: Zions, Stung by Crunch, Books Loss
Zions Bancorp swung to a fourth-quarter loss as credit quality continues to sink and the company took a $353.8 million in write-downs on past acquisitions and investments.
Loss-loan provisions soared to $285.2 million from $156.6 million in the third quarter and $70 million a year earlier. Net loan and lease charge-offs climbed to 1.71% of annualized average loans from 0.91% and 0.28%, respectively. Non-performing assets, loans on the verge of going bad, surged to 2.71% of net loans and leases and other real estate owned from 2.2% and 0.73%.
And more layoffs too, from MarketWatch: Texas Instruments reports a big profit drop, will cut 3,400 . I've lost count, but there have to be well over 50,000 jobs cuts announced today in the U.S.