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American Express May Be Forced to Pay Refunds Amid CFPB Review

Aug. 3 (Bloomberg) -- American Express Co., the biggest credit-card issuer by purchases, said it may be forced to refund customers as bank regulators weigh enforcement actions based on consumer-protection laws.

The lender “currently believes” the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will take enforcement action against at least one of the company’s units and possibly a second, similar to measures the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. had said previously it intends to pursue, New York-based AmEx said yesterday in a quarterly filing.

The bank and its subsidiaries “continue to make changes to certain of their card practices and products and established accruals for, among other costs, expected refunds to cardmembers,” American Express said in the filing.

U.S. financial firms face inquiries and information requests from regulators reviewing the sale of add-on credit-card products. Bank of America Corp. said yesterday it received queries from regulators related to identity-theft protection services and that consumers may have paid for products without receiving certain benefits from third-party vendors.

Capital One Financial Corp., in the first public enforcement case brought by the CFPB, said last month it will pay $210 million to settle claims of deceptive marketing on credit-card products including payment protection and credit monitoring. The bureau and FDIC also have subpoenaed Discover Financial Services amid a probe into that lender’s marketing of fee-based products.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dakin Campbell in San Francisco at dcampbell27@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net.

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