| HBS Case Collection
(Revised from original 1993 version)
American Express TRS Charge-Card Receivables
American Express (TRS) Co. is considering a proposal to securitize a portion of their consumer charge-card receivables portfolio. In the past, they have relied exclusively on a captive finance subsidiary, Credco, to perform this function. The proposed securitization structure has been put forth by Lehman Brothers and relies heavily on the existing structure of credit-card receivables' securitizations. The growing asset-backed securities market presents TRS an opportunity to diversify its sources of funds--however, there are reasons to be cautious. Due to recent downgrades of American Express and Credco debt, the perceived financial weakness of credit-card receivable backed securities issuers, and the proposal's sophisticated securitization structure, TRS is concerned that 1) The market may perceive securitization as a sign of weakness; 2) The securitization may not be cost effective. Therefore, TRS has to decide whether or not to proceed with securitization at this time.
Keywords: Credit Cards;
Borrowing and Debt;