Marina Hoffman Norville, a spokeswoman for the US banking group and a leading issuer of credit cards, said it was taking a USD 313 million charge in its fourth-quarter accounts to cover the severance costs of the layoffs, which amount to about six percent of its global staff.

American Express reported a 15 percent increase in earnings per share, to USD 1.39, in its fourth quarter, on a seven percent rise in total revenues to USD 9.1 billion.     

"Solid results this quarter reflected the underlying themes that have characterized our performance throughout 2014: higher card member spending, increased loan balances, tight control of operating expenses and a substantial return of capital to shareholders through share repurchases," said Kenneth Chenault, chairman and chief executive.

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