It is a homage to the bank’s founder, Marcus Goldman, who launched a fledgling securities firm after emigrating from Germany in 1848, a person familiar with the matter said.
Marcus is expected to be unveiled formally later this fall, when Goldman goes live with an online product offering relatively small loans to individuals.
It evokes the trendy one-name Silicon Valley startups. And it may put a friendlier face on the bank’s effort to court retail customers, a group it has traditionally ignored in favour of corporations and the ultrarich.
The new name, reported earlier by the New York Times, is the product of extensive market research. Some executives were hesitant to put the Goldman brand name on the product, people familiar with the matter have said. Many people still associate the bank with excesses of pre-crisis Wall Street. For others, Goldman—well-known among American corporations—simply isn’t a brand that would resonate the same way for more pedestrian consumer banking functions.
Goldman plans this fall to start offering unsecured personal loans, of the type currently arranged by online-only shops such as LendingClub and Prosper Marketplace. Marcus will focus on people with relatively strong credit scores who carry significant credit card debt, and offer to consolidate it at lower rates, people familiar with the matter said. It won’t target subprime borrowers, whose loans yield more but are riskier, the people said.
The push into consumer lending comes as traditional sources of revenue like trading are being squeezed by tougher capital rules and difficult macroeconomic conditions.
Last year, Goldman hired Discover Financial Services executive Harit Talwar to run the new business, and added credit card executives from Barclays and Citigroup. Marcus’s head of branding is a consumer marketing veteran with stints at underwear brand Jockey International and PepsiCo.
Goldman launched an online deposit-taking platform in April that is so far separate from the fledgling Marcus but will complement it, by bolstering the funds the bank can lend. Goldman has added about $ 1.8 billion in new deposits since then, The Wall Street Journal reported this week.
Write to Liz Hoffman at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was first published by The Wall Street Journal