American Express profits lower in Q1

On the same day President Barack Obama met with credit card company executives to discuss possibly abusive practices within the credit card industry, American Express (AXP) reported first quarter profits of $443 million, 58 percent lower than a year ago. Despite the drop, the company's credit card practices have allowed it to remain profitable in one of the most difficult economic environments in memory.

The company's earnings per share from continuing operations came in at 32 cents, down 64 percent from 89 cents per share a year ago. Total revenues dropped 18 percent, from $7.2 billion last year to $5.9 billion in the first quarter, reflecting increasing bad loans and reduced credit spending due to the slumping economy.