American Express Redefines Its Strategy




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AMERICAN EXPRESS- BACKGROUND NOTE

American Express Company (American Express) was founded in the year 1850 as an express mail business. The company was formed with the merger of some leading express companies of the time like Wells & Company, Livingston, Fargo & Company, and Wells, Butterfield & Company. In the initial days of its operation, it enjoyed a monopoly on the movement of all kinds of express shipments like goods, securities, and currency in New York State. In subsequent years, the company started expanding its reach to cover all parts of the country by entering into business agreements with other companies in businesses like express mail, railroads, and shipping.

In the year 1882, American Express started expanding into the business of financial services by launching the money order business. The company became a major player in the international financial services business with the launch of American Express Traveler’s Cheques in the year 1891. The Traveler’s Cheques issued by American Express quickly became popular as they were accepted in all the major cities of the world. In the year 1915, American Express entered the travel services business, which went on to become one of its most lucrative businesses in the later years.

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Its travel services business, which later came to be known as ‘American Express Travel & Lifestyle Services’, offered premium travel services to affluent customers in both the USA and other countries. In the year 1917 (during World War I), the then president of the US, Woodrow Wilson, commanded that all the railroads in the country be merged into one single company to aid the war efforts. As a result of this move, American Express suffered a major setback with the loss of its railroad business........

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