Now that Marcus by Goldman Sachs’ acquisition of GreenSky is complete, what’s next for the combined firm?
- In September 2021, Goldman Sachs announced it was acquiring home improvement lender, GreenSky.
- After closing the deal earlier this year, leaders of the combined entities are focused on further building out the Marcus digital consumer banking platform.
Goldman Sachs recently announced it had completed its acquisition of GreenSky, a pioneering BNPL lender in the home improvement space. Tearsheet sat down with Swati Bhatia, Head of Consumer Proprietary Business at Marcus by Goldman Sachs, and David Zalik, Co-Founder & CEO of GreenSky, to talk about the acquisition and the combined firm's plans going forward.
- Can you start by telling us a bit about Marcus by Goldman Sachs and GreenSky?
SB: Marcus by Goldman Sachs is Goldman Sachs’ consumer banking platform that offers simple and transparent products to address the spending, borrowing, saving, and investing needs for millions of customers to help them achieve their financial goals.
Since we launched over five years ago, Marcus has evolved from a single product offering to a multi-product platform built with the help of a continual loop of feedback we receive through various channels from our customers. Today, we serve consumers in two distinct yet complementary ways. First, we offer a variety of proprietary products, including a high-yield Online Savings Account, a managed portfolio, and no-fee, fixed-rate personal loans, all designed to help serve customers in a seamless, digital-first fashion. Second, through partnerships with other likeminded brands, we leverage our flexible technology stack to further expand our capabilities by reaching more consumers through the ecosystems of our partners.
DZ: GreenSky, now a Goldman Sachs company, offers simple and transparent lending solutions that meet customers where they transact and help merchants drive growth. We are the largest fintech platform for home improvement consumer loan originations.
- What attracted Marcus by Goldman Sachs to GreenSky, and similarly, what attracted GreenSky to Marcus by Goldman Sachs?
SB: GreenSky, now a Goldman Sachs company, is the largest fintech platform for home improvement loan originations, which we believe is a really attractive sector for a couple of reasons. First, GreenSky is focused on merchants growing their business, and second, the home improvement space focuses on larger ticket purchases, so the fact that Goldman Sachs has a large balance sheet is a real competitive advantage. In combining GreenSky’s capabilities and merchant network with the resources of Goldman Sachs, we can now deliver even more to the merchant community and help them meet their business needs, while simultaneously serving the end consumer.
DZ: Fintech lending companies are increasingly joining hands with banks to propel them to the next level and increase scale. For us, becoming a part of Goldman Sachs was a great fit for us because with Marcus, they have built a digital consumer banking startup within an established financial institution, enabling them to have the resources of a large bank paired with the digital-first nature more commonly associated with consumer fintech startups. We had a choice, and we chose Goldman Sachs because it was the best of both worlds.
- What can GreenSky do now as a part of Goldman Sachs that it could not previously?
DZ: We built GreenSky over the last 16 years with innovative technology that helps create value for merchants and consumers. That said, we didn’t have access to Goldman Sachs resources such as a trillion-dollar balance sheet. Now, when you combine GreenSky with Goldman Sachs and the resources they have access to, it gives us the ability to execute far more than we ever could have as a standalone company.
With GreenSky now a part of Goldman Sachs, we believe merchants will have a larger capability to grow their business and reach more customers, while customers will have access to funding options that may be right for them.
- What types of customers does GreenSky serve, and how will they fit into the broader Marcus ecosystem?
SB: GreenSky provides simple and transparent home improvement financing solutions for millions of customers. Their customer base consists primarily of homeowners looking for smarter ways to finance large ticket purchases for their home improvement projects. For many, it may make more sense to leverage financing rather than dip into their savings or look towards alternative ways to fund their renovation projects. We believe homeowners are an attractive customer segment to us given their interest to spend, borrow, invest, and save.
- How will the acquisition impact GreenSky’s merchant community?
DZ: In combining GreenSky’s capabilities with the networks and resources of Goldman Sachs, we can now deliver even more to the merchant community and help them meet their business needs. Merchants will benefit from the resources of Goldman Sachs, including access to proprietary products and services from Goldman Sachs small business lending and their broader expertise in industrial sectors through the Investment Banking division. Additionally, newly combined teams will continue to innovate payment solutions to help merchants build loyalty, grow their business, and reach new customers.
- How does this acquisition play into Marcus’ long-term strategy? How does GreenSky fit in the larger product picture for Marcus?
SB: Our goal is for Marcus to become the digital consumer banking platform of the future for tens of millions of customers, and the acquisition of GreenSky is a crucial part of our strategy to scale the business to address the spending, borrowing, saving, and investing needs of that consumer base. By combining our customer focus, technology, and balance sheet with GreenSky’s user base and innovative, cloud-native proprietary platform, this acquisition will help further expand and enhance our lending capabilities and accelerate our strategy of meeting customers where they transact.
Our aim is that when a customer thinks about their financial needs, their first thought is Marcus by Goldman Sachs, and that we can service them through a wide range of products and offerings. As we continue to build the digital consumer banking platform of the future, GreenSky will be a key component of our retail offerings, providing customers with simple and transparent home improvement financing solutions.
We believe we are poised for growth as we continue to invest in our current and future partnerships and look for ways to transform the way customers manage their money every day and around major life purchases.
- David, as a serial entrepreneur, do you anticipate any challenges in joining Goldman Sachs?
DZ: To be part of Goldman Sachs and to have a mandate for continued growth and innovation – for an entrepreneur, it’s a dream come true. We’re looking to join forces with anyone that can help us grow our business and best serve our merchants and our customers – and this makes perfect sense.
I am excited to be a part of Goldman Sachs and to leverage its resources to continue to grow and better serve our merchants and our customers.
- What will happen to GreenSky’s current employees?
SB: We are extremely excited to welcome GreenSky employees to Marcus by Goldman Sachs and are currently working to integrate them into the company in a seamless way. We are also looking forward to building out our presence in Atlanta, which is a great place for us to tap into the fintech and tech talent in the region, as well as the talent coming from the great universities in the area.
- What’s next for Marcus?
SB: We recently held our first home improvement industry conference, Crafting Tomorrow, where we welcomed hundreds of our merchants to Austin, Texas for a few days of programming, and we look forward to continuing to engage with our merchant community. More broadly for Marcus, we are looking forward to introducing our Marcus checking product to more consumers later this year.
Over the past five years at Marcus, through seamless digital experiences, we’ve brought multiple products together, such as lending, savings, credit cards, and soon, checking! We aim to be the primary digital consumer banking platform for millions of consumers and are excited to continue to help those millions of customers achieve their financial goals.