Goldman Sachs Enters Consumer Deposit Market With GE Acquisition

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Updated May 6, 2016: Goldman Sachs has launched its savings account

1.05% Interest Rate with No Minimum Balance

GS BankGoldman Sachs has launched its long awaited online savings account. The bank, long known for serving the wealthiest individuals and corporations, is now offering a high yield savings account that requires only $1 to open. Here are the details of the product:

  • 1.05% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)
  • No minimum deposit – you can open the account with just $1
  • There is a deposit limit – you can only deposit a maximum of $250,000
  • You can access your money by electronic transfer, wire transfer or by check. Note: Synchrony Bank pays 1.05% but also provides an ATM card for easier access to your funds. The minimum deposit is $30 (instead of $1), but we think the ATM card makes it a superior offer.

Apply Now

You should shop around. Interest rates as high as 1.20% are available for people with big balances. MagnifyMoney has a list of the best savings accounts here.

Goldman Sachs Purchased GE’s Savings Accounts

Goldman Sachs purchased $16 billion of GE Capital Bank’s consumer deposits. $8 billion of the deposits are online savings accounts and CDs, and the other $8 billion are brokered certificates of deposit. In addition to the deposits, the employees of GE Capital responsible for the deposit business have been transitioned to Goldman Sachs.

The acquisition accelerates two big trends in consumer banking. General Electric has decided to exit the consumer financial services market, and has been rapidly shedding businesses all over the world. Goldman Sachs is building out a consumer banking strategy as it diversifies its business. Earlier this year, it announced that it will be entering consumer lending. And now, with a meaningful consumer deposit business, it will be active on both sides of the balance sheet.

Without the cost of a branch network, Goldman Sachs is able to pay higher interest rates to consumers while still obtaining funding advantages. Goldman Sachs is looking to diversity its funding, and sticky consumer deposits can be attractive. As interest rates increase, consumer deposits, due to their inertia, are typically not as responsive to increases in interest rates.

Goldman Sachs: Building The Consumer Bank Of The Future

FinTech companies, largely in the Silicon Valley, have started to change the way financial services are delivered to consumers. Marketplace lending has brought a better product and experience to consumers, a higher return to investors and more advanced credit risk analytics to lending decisions. Internet banks, by avoiding branch networks, are providing savers with higher interest rates and banks with low-cost funding sources. Goldman Sachs is out to prove that even a large, existing bank can take advantage of these trends.

Goldman Sachs will be launching a digital lending business. It has hired a former senior executive at Discover to lead the expansion. With the acquisition of the GE deposit franchise, Goldman Sachs will be a formidable competitor to the large incumbent banks. Why receive 0.01% on your savings account from Bank of America, and pay 19% interest on your credit card to Citibank, when you can get 1% on savings and pay 12% on loans to Goldman Sachs? Because Goldman does not have a legacy business to defend or cost structure to rationalize, it is uniquely positioned to challenge the large consumer banks in America.

At the moment, the marketplace lenders are taking advantage of ultra-low interest rates to grow. Investors are pouring money into any investment that offers yield. However, as interest rates increase, having access to low-cost consumer deposits will become a competitive advantage. Deposit rates for consumers do not increase as rapidly as interest rates in general. Goldman Sachs could end up with a funding cost advantage in a rising rate environment. Not only would the large consumer banks suffer, but the Silicon Valley start-ups may find it harder to compete.

Good News For Consumers

Many people have an immediate, negative reaction when they hear the name Goldman Sachs. However, in the consumer deposit and lending space, Goldman Sachs will be a challenger brand. In order to win as a challenger, you need a better product, experience, or both. Consumer loans and savings accounts remain entrenched with four big lenders who became even bigger after the financial crisis. Consumers will benefit by having well-funded new entrants looking to steal market share. Goldman Sachs is both large and well-funded. Consumer should expect better rates on savings accounts and loans in the years to come, as competition intensifies.

The post Goldman Sachs Enters Consumer Deposit Market With GE Acquisition appeared first on MagnifyMoney.