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News Release 2012-137 | October 1, 2012

OCC Assesses Civil Money Penalty Against American Express, Orders $6 Million in Restitution

WASHINGTON – The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today announced a $500,000 civil money penalty against American Express Bank, FSB, for violations of section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act and ordered the bank to provide approximately $6 million in restitution to an estimated 17,000 affected customers.

The OCC also ordered the bank to establish an effective vendor management program to oversee the provision of products to the bank’s customers.

The OCC based its penalty on the bank’s failure to properly manage vendors who engaged in deceptive debt collection practices in violation of the statute.  The estimated $6 million in restitution will be paid to compensate consumers for the injury suffered as the result of these violations.

The OCC is taking these actions in coordination with separate actions by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation against American Express companies under their jurisdictions.  In addition to the penalty assessed by the OCC against American Express Bank, FSB, the CFPB is assessing a $1.2 million penalty which covers both violations of the Truth in Lending Act, for which the bureau has exclusive enforcement authority, and the deceptive debt collection practices addressed by the OCC penalty and order.

Restitution payments made by the bank pursuant to the OCC’s order will also satisfy identical payment obligations required by the CFPB.  The civil money penalties assessed by the OCC are payable to the U.S. Treasury.

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Bryan Hubbard
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