Deposits, the U.K., and Profitability: The Future of Marcus by Goldman Sachs

EXCLUSIVE- After just over a year in operation, what’s next for Marcus, the consumer lending platform operated by incumbent bank Goldman Sachs?

During the Digital Lending and Investing Conference currently taking place in New York today, Omer Ismail, chief commercial officer of Marcus from Goldman Sachs, highlighted a few areas.

Deposits, saving products, and expansion to new regions are among them.

“So we have the personal loan business, we acquired an online deposit business middle of last year. By the end of the year the online deposit business… will be part of the Marcus brand, so it’s been quietly expanding for a year and half at this point,” Ismail said at a panel during the conference. “These are the two products where we’re spending a lot of time, the loans business and the online savings business which is an ideal savings account. For both of these we feel like we’re in the first innings of what we can do with them.”

Since it was first launched in October 2016, Marcus has made $1.7 billion in consumer installment loans. The company credits its fast growth to its internal team structure and consumer focus, Boe Hartman, chief information officer for Goldman Sachs Bank, USA, said on the same panel.

The team, said Hartman, avoided long, drawn out “debates” over compliance and product and instead worked together from the beginning, an advantage that was helped along by the fact that Marcus was built entirely from scratch from a technical as well as product perspective.

“How often do you have the opportunity to build a digital bank the way you always wanted to do it?” Hartman said. “That opportunity, I could see the power behind it, and the power of having a firm like Goldman Sachs behind it.”

Aside from adding to its deposit capabilities, the lender is also looking to expand to the United Kingdom, Ismail said.

“We have a hired a small team in the UK that is growing, looking at starting an online savings business in the U.K., and that’s going to be our focus there. It’s right now in the incubation phase, and the team is relatively small. There’s no product in the market there,” Ismail said. “Right now our focus is exclusively on the U.K., and I think most of last year is going to be spent [on that platform].”

The last goal of Marcus? Profitability, according to Ismail.

“We want to be a contributor to Goldman Sachs earnings, and also be a positive contributor to Goldman Sachs’ reputation,” Ismail said, adding that for those customers engaged with Marcus, there has been a demonstrated positive effect on their overall view of the Goldman Sachs brand.

“We don’t want to rush into growth,” Ismail said. “The plan is to scale and be a contributor to Goldman Sachs earnings.”

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