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The Chairman of American Express Says They Are Doomed

American Express (NYSE: AXP) has been getting crushed in 2016. They are almost down 24% to start the year, and it’s got a lot of people wondering if they are going to be able to turn it around.

Count me among the skeptics. I’m going to use my classic “has drew been hearing about this company a lot in his daily life” tactic for determining whether I think a company is headed in the right direction. I know, I know. This is not technical. That’s why I get experts :) I’m here to bring a human aspect to all this.

That being said, other than my girlfriend signing up for a card at Costco, I don’t think I can recall another instance of seeing an American Express card. When I split dinner checks with friends, almost everything is Chase or BofA. I don’t think young people recognize or care about this brand at all, and I think that will be their ultimate undoing.

Furthermore, their own chairman, in his statement, was barely optimistic. He mentions that “cyclical factors in the broader economy” have hurt their stock. That sounds like pretty evasive speech, to me. The broader economy can’t be the scapegoat. It’s like a restaurant with bad food and bad yelp reviews saying that “cyclical factors in the broader economy” are what killed their business, not their awful practices. When the grand leader is using speech like that, I think it might be a good time to cut and run.