Goldman Says Pandemic Is Giving a Boost to Digital Banking

The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating a move by consumers toward online financial services and demonstrating that banks can operate with fewer physical branches, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive said.

Company research suggests that more than a quarter of customers don’t plan to return to branch offices even after it is safe to do so, Harit Talwar, head of Goldman’s consumer bank, said Tuesday at Tearsheet’s Resilience Conference, which is being held online.

Marcus, the online platform run by Talwar, provides savings accounts and personal loans, as well as a credit card in partnership with Apple Inc. Checking accounts are planned for 2021. Goldman’s consumer push is part of a bid to become less reliant on trading and investment banking. Low interest rates have depressed the firm’s advantage in high-yield accounts, and prompted Marcus to cut the rate on its online savings account.

“We are hearing through consumers’ behavior that they want online financial services because it is easy, it is convenient and it is safe,” Talwar said. “If they can do that for groceries, why not for banking?” He said that “large banks with physical branches are only helping landlords rather than consumers.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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