Discover Financial Services' chief executive officer, David Nelms, said his company is "unlikely" to convert into a bank holding company, as American Express Co. has done.

"Most of our activities are already in a regulated bank," Mr. Nelms told analysts Tuesday at a banking and financial services conference in New York sponsored by Merrill Lynch & Co.

The Riverwoods, Ill., card company has access to government programs through its bank unit, he said.

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