Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express Company, participated in a discussion with Economic Club President David M. Rubenstein at a luncheon meeting on April 15. Among the topics covered in the conversation, Mr. Chenault shared his expectations for the U.S. economy from the perspective of consumer spending, predicting that growth will continue to be sluggish.
Excerpts from Event
“. . . Northern Europe is doing substantially better than Southern Europe. . . . Southern Europe is dealing with a lot of economic issues and debt issues. . . . Asia continues for us to perform pretty well. China, despite the fact that their growth slowed down , . . it’s still a 7.7 percent growth rate, which is pretty significant. We think China remains a strong opportunity. Mexico, Brazil have held up, and particularly Mexico has held up very well. In my conversations with a number of CEOs at other companies, a number of them would point to that region as actually being a fairly attractive region, with Mexico leading the way.” ~ Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, American Express Company
“Spending is good. That demonstrates that we have a healthy economy. That is a good thing. Borrowing has to be done in a responsible way. And I think clearly, as we go back to the financial crisis, there were a number of customers – both affluent customers and non-affluent customers – that really were living beyond their means. The reality is that the savings rate did need to increase. I think we’re in a situation now, if you look at the credit card industry, where the deleveraging that is taking place is still going on.” ~ Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, American Express Company
“. . . we’ve taken the infrastructure that we’ve used with the traveler’s check business and we’re entering an opportunity that I think is fantastic. . . . reloadable prepaid, which is increasingly an alternative for cash, checks, and debit. There you’re talking about a multiple of a trillion-dollar marketplace. . . . that’s going to be an incredible growth opportunity, because according to the FDIC, you’ve got 10 million households in the U.S. that are unbanked and 24 million households that are under-banked.” ~ Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, American Express Company