Banking, Payments

As Goldman Sachs winds down Marcus’ consumer lending, it sees a longer term opportunity with Transaction Banking

  • Goldman Sachs is retreating from its consumer digital transformation, from its vision of turning into a bank for the rest of us.
  • But it's sticking with Transaction Banking, a branchless, API-led treasury solution.

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As Goldman Sachs winds down Marcus’ consumer lending, it sees a longer term opportunity with Transaction Banking

Goldman Sachs continues to unwind its attempt at remaking itself from a Wall Street bank into a Main Street Bank. As it sells off its direct consumer loan portfolio, the bank's new Platform Solutions group seems to be sticking with Transaction Banking. Transaction Banking is the firm's API-driven solution for liquidity management, virtual accounts, payments, and escrow services.

The firm uses its deep relationships to bank its clients and bring deposits to its platform. But, it hasn't yet found the unlock to get them to send payments through Transaction Banking. Transaction banking accounted for $82 million in revenue in Q223 and $156 million year to date for Goldman Sachs.

And that makes sense because of the complexity of the B2B payments landscape -- most enterprises use a hodgepodge of different providers for different use cases. And even as the competing real time payment networks launch and begin the long slog to get traction, 3.3 billion checks were still processed in 2022.  

“We will continue to process more checks than electronic payments and wires even today. If we add this up across the globe, we end up having this problem returning in multiple different dimensions and there is no easy answer,” said Hari Moorthy, COO of platform solutions and global head of transaction banking at Goldman Sachs, at Tearsheet’s The Big Bank Theory Conference, held last month in New York.

In working to get clients to put their payments through its platform, Goldman's TxB team is competing against a slew of other options. It will take time to scale payment volumes.

"One of the things that we said over the last couple of quarters is we're working now on getting the clients that are on the platform to really get more of their payments activity into the flow, so this delivers real revenue and real value over time. That's taking some time and it will take some time," said CEO David Solomon to Devin Ryan of JMP Securities in Wednesday's earnings call.

While Solomon is pulling the plug on much of the new consumer business, it seems like he's sticking with the enterprise banking platform.

"We have a very, very good opportunity set over time. But this is going to take time to execute. I think it's one of those things where we have a business that's performing fine but it's not making a meaningful contribution. But I think this is something where, over time, we'll work hard to figure out how this can make a more meaningful contribution to the firm with our client base," he said.

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