American Express Co. said it will cut more than 4,000 jobs this year as it curtails expenses.
AmEx also said Wednesday that it took a $206-million charge in the fourth quarter to "improve operating efficiencies.
The lender, led by Chief Executive Kenneth I. Chenault, agreed last year to sell digital travel firm Concur Technologies Inc. to SAP, resulting in a $719-million gain. The company used a substantial portion of that gain to fund the charge, the company said.
Fourth-quarter profit climbed 11% to $1.45 billion, or $1.39 a share, from a year earlier as customer card spending increased, AmEx said. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was $1.38 a share.
Chenault is relying on an increase in lending and accelerated customer spending to boost revenue. AmEx is seeking to expand its reach beyond affluent customers by increasing its prepaid debit business, while adding credit cards geared toward everyday spending and lowering some merchant fees.
Fourth-quarter revenue rose 6.6% to $9.12 billion from a year earlier as customer spending climbed to $268.5 billion, the company said. AmEx set aside $399 million to cover losses, a 25% increase.
"Revenue growth in particular is expected to remain challenging," said Jason Arnold, an RBC Capital Markets analyst.