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‘We had the audacity to think big and execute on that bold vision’: Goldman Sachs internal memo includes interview with outgoing head of consumer business, Harit Talwar

  • Harit Talwar built Goldman's consumer banking business.
  • Now, as he transitions out of the role, he looks back on how GS transformed itself.
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‘We had the audacity to think big and execute on that bold vision’: Goldman Sachs internal memo includes interview with outgoing head of consumer business, Harit Talwar

Digital transformation is a fluid and long process for a traditional financial institution. More than any other bank its size, Goldman Sachs has reinvented itself over the past five years. Goldman’s trading floor in the 1990s wouldn’t recognize the firm’s new participation in Apple Card, its new installment loans with JetBlue, and its SMB lending activity with Amazon and Walmart.com.

Harit Talwar, head of the bank’s consumer business, was instrumental in remaking the firm’s entrance into consumer and retail banking. Last week, it was announced that Talwar is stepping aside amid a restructuring of the firm’s business that further aligns the new businesses.

Tearsheet has an internal memo that includes an interview with Talwar about his experiences building Marcus and remaking Goldman Sachs. The following is the complete text of the Q&A with Harit Talwar.

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Looking back over the last five years, what were you thinking then and what are you thinking today?

Harit Talwar: The thing I am most delighted about is that I actually joined Goldman Sachs to build this Consumer business. I was happy at Discover and had no intention of leaving. I wasn’t sure if the firm was committed to building a consumer franchise because building new businesses can be messy and expensive. And frankly I wasn’t sure whether I would like the culture, so I refused to take any calls. Fortunately for me, the firm tracked me down at a dinner in DC and within six weeks of that dinner, I had joined. 

I joined because during the interview process itself, I fell in love with what I perceived to be the culture of Goldman Sachs. We’re not perfect, but we truly embody the spirit of One Goldman Sachs and believe in team work, excellence, and building an environment where the people bring the best of themselves to work every day. 

Also, I felt that Goldman Sachs had a real advantage to innovate how financial services can be distributed in a modern, digital way while meaningfully extending the franchise. After all, this is one of the best known financial services firms with no existing consumer business at the time. 


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