Federal investigators test MX card sales practices


According to people familiar with the case, federal investigators are investigating business-card sales practices at American Express Company.

People said the Treasury Department, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Inspector General of the Federal Reserve are investigating whether MX used an aggressive and deceptive sales strategy to sell cards to business owners. They are also investigating whether specific employees contributed to the perceived behavior and if higher level employees supported it, some said.

According to people familiar with the case, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is also investigating business-card sales practices on MX.

More than a dozen current and former employees of MX previously told The Wall Street Journal that some salespersons are signing up for cards to increase sales numbers to strong-armed or misguided small-business owners. Some salespeople misrepresented card rewards and fees, or issued cards that customers did not ask for, he said. A spokesperson for AMEX said at the time that the company only found very few problems, which were resolved “immediately and appropriately” through disciplinary action.

A spokesperson for MX said this week, “We have strong compliance policies and controls, and do not tolerate malpractice.”

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