It's a tricky time for the world's largest corporate card provider. American Express' recent financial performance is "disappointing," said chairman and CEO Kenneth Chenault. An antitrust suit with potentially wide and expensive implications still is pending. Amex recently lost a couple big consumer co-branding partnerships. Average fees charged to merchants are dropping, and will keep doing so as the company pushes for wider acceptance. Competition, it says, is "increasingly intense."

Something has to give.

Amex last week laid out plans for cutting $1 billion in annual expenses by the end of next year. It's not clear . . .

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