Goldman Sachs moves quietly into Main Street

Goldman Goes Main Street

NEW YORK — More homeowner, less hedge fund titan. Goldman Sachs, long known for its super-rich clients and well-connected executives, is starting to act a lot more like a neighborhood bank.

The most Wall Street of Wall Street firms really wants people to start thinking about it the next time they need to open a bank account or borrow money. It’s paying above-average rates on online savings accounts and offering that stodgiest of investments, good old-fashioned CDs. Personal loans are available through its Marcus brand, a friendlier reference to co-founder Marcus Goldman.

For a firm that never had a reason to advertise, Goldman now runs Marcus commercials with the casual tagline: “Debt happens.”

During most of its nearly 148-year history, the main way to do business with Goldman was to be incredibly wealthy or a CEO at a major company. That’s changing.

“We want to grow a robust consumer banking business,” said Stephen Scherr, Goldman’s chief strategy officer and CEO of GS Bank.

Goldman’s retail banking business is less than two years old and tiny compared to the overall size of the firm. The company hasn’t yet even broken it out as a business line in its quarterly financial statements because of its size. And Goldman isn’t backing away from its traditional strengths: trading and advising.