Bengaluru key to Goldman’s consumer bank Marcus

BENGALURU: Goldman Sachs’ Bengaluru office is at the heart of tech development for its digital bank Marcus. Three years since its launch, Marcus is shaping up as the consumer bank of the future. The Marcus platform has around 1,700 employees across the US, UK and India, and over 200 of them are based in Bengaluru.
Marcus has been in the spotlight in recent times, with Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon emerging as the strongest proponent of making bolder bets on its consumer business. Harit Talwar, head of the global consumer business at Goldman Sachs and employee No.1 at Marcus, says they spoke to 100,000 customers and 70% of millennials said they would rather visit their dentist than visit a bank branch.
“More than 60% of people in the US don’t trust their bank or credit card company. And more than 50% of people said if they have $400 (Rs 28,000) of unexpected expenditure in the US, more than half the country either needs to borrow or sell something which they own. For all the progress that we’ve made, the financial services sector hasn’t been at the cutting-edge of some of this progress,” he says. Talwar joined Goldman Sachs around the time it acquired GE’s online deposit platform in 2016, which then had $9 billion in consumer deposits.
At a recent investor day, Goldman Sachs called out plans to more than double consumer deposits to $125 billion over the next five years and to triple loans and credit card balances to over $20 billion during the same period. Today, Marcus has $870 million in revenue, $60 billion in deposits, $7 billion in loans and card balance, and 5 million customers. To meet its steep targets, Talwar, who is an ex-Citibanker, wants look through the spending, borrowing and saving lenses of millions of customers.
“Large banks in the US have less incentive to dis-intermediate themselves. Our vision is to build a modern digital bank obsessed with customer-centricity,” he says.
Talwar says Bengaluru provides a great mix of tech talent for building digital capabilities. “We are not here for the cost arbitrage play. There are various ways to do cost arbitrage, but this is a talent play. Bengaluru is integral to our success, just as New York, Dallas, San Francisco or London,” he says.
The Bengaluru centre has technologists across the product suite of the consumer business, including lending, savings and credit cards. Working with the global consumer team, the team in Bengaluru has played an integral role in creating Apple’s credit card. For this project, the Bengaluru team worked across engineering, credit analytics and risk management functions. “The centre here develops customer-facing, product feature functionalities,” says Talwar.
Gunjan Samtani, head of Goldman Sachs Services in India, says every product of the modern digital bank has a presence in Bengaluru. “Whether it is our deposit or lending businesses, we have a front-to-back representation from product design to risk management to engineering, data and operations, and lifecycle management,” he says.
The Bengaluru operations started in 2004. Today it has over 5,500 employees and is growing. It is Goldman Sachs’ third largest office in the world by headcount.

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