Federal regulators announced multiple enforcement actions Tuesday against American Express Co.'s thrift and bank subsidiaries in Utah, requiring them to pay a combined civil money penalty of $250,000.
Regulators said the institutions sent checks to credit card customers that they later refused to honor because of changes in the customers' credit ratings or limits.
The Office of Thrift Supervision, which oversees American Express FSB, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which oversees American Express Centurion Bank, said the declined checks resulted in fees and other costs for consumers and possibly negatively affected their credit ratings.
American Express agreed to establish a reserve of at least $1.5 million to reimburse affected customers $160 for each declined convenience check and for any fees over that amount. It also will send letters to affected customers to clear up the problems.