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American Express is more to Germany

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FRANKFURT / HAMBURG. The Western European credit markets emerge from the current crisis rather strengthened. Thus, the agent of the credit card business in Germany has American Express (Amex) within the company gained in importance, as Germany’s CEO Werner Decker in Handelsblatt-emphasizes conversation. In the credit card company Barclaycard, we again see plenty of opportunities in Western Europe and, therefore, currently no plans to expand into Eastern Europe, as Antony Jenkins, chief executive of Global Retail Banking Barclays, Said in an interview.

Sales in Germany have benefited during the crisis due to its low risk profile, says Decker. Previously had the international strategy of American Express focuses primarily on emerging markets. "Now, more focus is on what the growth is connected to which risk," said Decker. Here, the German market is cut off well: The margins were satisfactory, but the risks lower than in Anglo-Saxon countries.

This is proven by the failure rates, the Amex calculated. They were 2008 in the international business at American Express at 0.24 percent of credit card sales. "In Germany we are still a long way below," says Decker. The importance of Business in Germany has risen within the group and therefore he would invest more in Germany 2010. Amex seen in Germany was in business between enterprises (B2B) opportunities for growth. "Our goal is that not only the end customer pays with his credit card, for example in a pharmacy, but that also the pharmacist at the pharmaceutical wholesaler handles his order with a credit card."

This business has been so attractive, because here the volumes are larger than in making purchases from private users. "In addition, payments are just the business operations of a company much less affected by cyclical fluctuations," the Amex-Germany boss. 2009, the company made it a high three-digit million sales.

Despite the fees to have a shift to credit card companies also stand to gain, says Decker. "For suppliers, this has the advantage that it carries no credit risk and it binds more strongly to the customers themselves. The buyer has the advantage that it has a longer payment term," said Decker.

Even with Barclaycard, the crisis led to policy changes. "Barclaycard is much more restrictive in the granting of loans made," says Jenkins. The company immediately react, if it can see tangible dangers. "On the other hand, we have extended our support services for clients who are in trouble," he added. In the UK we call actively selected customers and ask if they currently had financial problems.

Geographically Jenkins is on proven: "I look up to date opportunities in our existing markets of Western Europe. Are in our early years of business investment is needed," said Jenkins. An expansion into Eastern Europe stands at the moment not. Currently stabilized, according to Jenkins, the global economy. But he expects long-term consequences: "It takes longer for the job market is really ignites. We expect the United States with a bottoming in the first quarter, for Germany in the second or third – and perhaps in Britain in the summer."