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Mario Gabelli Comments on American Express

American Express Co. (NYSE:AXP) (4.3% of net assets as of June 30, 2019) (AXP - $123.44 - NYSE) is the largest closed loop credit card company in the world. The company operates its eponymous premiere branded payment network and lends to its largely affluent customer base. As of December 2018, American Express has 114 million cards in force and nearly $82 billion in loans, while its customers charged approximately $1.2 trillion of spending on their cards in 2018. The company's strong consumer brand has allowed American Express to enter the deposit gathering market as an alternate source of funding, while the company's affluent customers have picked up spending. Longer term, American Express should capitalize on its higher spending customer base and continue to expand into other payment related businesses, such as corporate purchasing, while also growing in emerging markets. Similarly, the company is looking at the growing success of social media as an opportunity to expand its product base and payment options.

From Mario Gabelli (Trades, Portfolio)'s second-quarter 2019 Value 25 Fund commentary.
This article first appeared on GuruFocus.