The Goldman U-Turn

David Viniar, September 16:

Bank deposits can basically be used to fund the business of the bank, what a bank does, largely not the capital markets businesses that we are in. And so I think the answer is there would be some small portion of our business that would probably be able to be funded by bank deposits, but most of the business that we’re in could not be funded by banks…

we have some of them, we use them where we can but it doesn’t fit with most of our business model.

Goldman Sachs press release, September 21:

We intend to grow our deposit base through acquisitions and organically.

David Viniar:

We’ve never been regulated. We’ve never operated a bank and it’s not something we’re an expert at…

We think that the business model that we have right now is working quite well and that our performance is good… it is about the performance of the company and the model that we are in has helped us and allowed us to perform as well as we have and we’d like to continue that.

Goldman Sachs press release:

In recent weeks, particularly in view of market developments, Goldman Sachs has discussed with the Federal Reserve our intention to be regulated as a Bank Holding Company… We view regulation by the Federal Reserve Board as appropriate and in the best interests of protecting and growing our franchise across our diverse range of businesses…

Goldman Sachs already has two active deposit taking institutions – Goldman Sachs Bank USA and Goldman Sachs Bank Europe PLC – which, together, hold more than $20 billion in customer deposits. We are moving assets from a number of strategic businesses, including our lending businesses, into GS Bank USA. With over $150 billion in assets, GS Bank USA will be one of the ten largest banks in the United States.

In other words, Goldman isn’t just acceding to Fed oversight, it’s actively shopping for commercial banks to buy. Retail banking is not something they were expert at last week, but evidently things have changed.

This entry was posted in banking. Bookmark the permalink.