Goldman Sachs launched Marcus, an online lending business for customers seeking loans of $30,000 or less, in October 2016.
It was a departure from what Goldman Sachs is best known for, namely, wealth management, trading, and investment banking.
And the business has already hit a $1 billion milestone, according to Goldman Sachs Lloyd Blankfein.
Blankfein said in an interview on CNBC’s “Mad Money with Jim Cramer” that “we just crossed over a billion dollars.”
“By the end of this year, we’ll be crossed two billion dollars,” he added. “We wanted to grow it slow to make sure we were doing a good job. But we’re going to grow, you know, we’re going to grow this thing.”
He added that Goldman Sachs could charge three to five percentage points less than the typical interest rates on credit card balances, and still “make a great return on this.”
“Most people get charged interest of 17, 18, 19, 20% or more on their credit card balances,” he said. “When we do something through Marcus, again, we don’t have a lot of stores or branch offices. We do things digitally. No fees. Get information online. And loans are made fairly quickly.”
The impact of Marcus extends beyond the financials. According to Marcus’ first employee, some of its culture is starting to rub off on the rest of the firm’s divisions.
Omer Ismail, the chief operating officer of Marcus by Goldman Sachs, described the online lending business as “more casual” in an interview on the Lend Academy Podcast.
“You know, our chief architect has a nose ring, people wear jeans so there are definitely aspects that look different relative to folks that work in the investment banking division,” said Ismail.
“We write on everything, we write on our walls, we write on our tables, we write on our windows, again, that’s very new.”
Ismail believes that some of that more relaxed, creative culture is beginning to find its way into other parts of Goldman Sachs.
“I was with the chief technology officer of Goldman and I went down to his office a couple of days ago and I noticed that now he has white walls so it’s actually really cool to see how folks at Marcus are actually influencing other parts of Goldman.”
Even some more traditional team-building practices are being incorporated by other divisions of Goldman Sachs.
“We have a weekly huddle where the entire Marcus team gets together and talks about a particular topic for the week,” said Ismail. “I was in a meeting last week with the head of our HCM, Human Capital Management, our HR area and Edith Cooper who heads up HCM was telling me that she started having weekly huddles.”