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Citing costs, American Express Co. is ending a 4-year-old program in which it donated more than $20 million to hunger relief.

AmEx notified employees last week it was discontinuing "Charge Against Hunger," though it will continue to sponsor fund-raising efforts for the Share Our Strength hunger relief group. Ogilvy & Mather, New York, handled the program's advertising.

AmEx plans to put the savings behind marketing efforts that will help it build share in the increasingly competitive credit card industry.

"We're looking at different ways of deploying our resources," an AmEx spokesman said.

"Charge Against Hunger" began as a three-year partnership in 1993, through which 3 cents of all AmEx card transactions during November and December, or about $5 million, would go to the group. AmEx decided to extend the program through 1996.

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