Soon you will be able to borrow money from a bank called Marcus.
Goldman Sachs, which has been rolling out its first foray into banking for the little guy, is going back to its history to name its big new push: an online lender for the masses.
After much internal discussion, the Wall Street firm has named the retail banking operation Marcus – the first name of the company’s founder, Marcus Goldman.
Joseph, the first name of Goldman’s business partner, Joseph Sachs, lost out. (The two men met as youths in Germany before immigrating to the United States in the 1840s.)
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The Marcus name is expected to be officially unveiled when the bank is ready to roll out the offering, most likely in October, according to people who were briefed on the plans.
Marcus is in line with recent startups taking on simple first names – think Earnest and Oscar – and is intended to convey a tech-era trendiness from a company that is not known for its youthful bona fides.
Initially, Marcus will offer relatively small consumer loans, a business that Goldman has traditionally avoided.
In a separate operation that was introduced in April, Goldman began offering online savings accounts with no minimum under the brand name GS Bank. It is not clear whether the brands will be merged.
Goldman has historically served corporations, governments and the ultrawealthy. But new regulations introduced since the financial crisis – as well as difficult business conditions – have pushed Goldman and other Wall Street firms to look for new lines of revenue.
The online savings bank and Marcus are Goldman’s way of making use of the bank holding status that the company was forced to acquire during the financial crisis. There have been internal discussions about offering additional retail financial services, such as small business loans, through Marcus sometime down the road, people briefed on the plans said.
One potential benefit of the retail banking operation is that it could help temper the reputational problems that Goldman suffered after the financial crisis, when Rolling Stone magazine called it “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”
In 2015, Goldman hired Harit Talwar, a former executive at the credit card company Discover, to begin putting together its new consumer lending operation. The plan has been to offer loans of around $15,000 to $20,000, similar to the offerings of online companies like LendingClub and Prosper.
Goldman could have a big advantage over those lenders because it is a bank with steady funding. Unlike most banks, though, Goldman does not have the additional expense of branches around the country.
The big question is whether Goldman will learn to successfully serve retail customers, something it has not done.
The Marcus business was referred to internally as Mosaic and has been operating with a staff of around 100 people.