American Express Co. (AXP) has long led the pack in the small-business credit card segment. But with consumer card loans growing only sluggishly industrywide, the battle for business accounts has now been joined.

In particular, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Capital One (COF) have bolstered their initiatives to enroll small-business owners, according to analysts who follow the industry. And in the face of a more competitive landscape, American Express has redoubled its own efforts.

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