NEW YORK - American Express Co. has announced its fifth bank partnership to issue American Express cards in Argentina. HSBC Argentina will issue American Express standard and gold credit cards.

American Express also issues cards through its own business in Argentina. HSBC Argentina, which operates 160 network branches in the country, is owned by HSBC Holdings PLC of London. The partnership was announced Monday.

American Express' other Argentine bank partners are Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires, Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, Banco Río de la Plata, and Bansud.

Though American Express does not release card data by individual country, its international consumer card business grew 15% in 2000 as measured by cards in force and 17% in its billed business. It had 18.4 million card accounts in force internationally at the end of 2000, compared with 51.7 million accounts in the United States.

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