Goldman Sachs (GS) might be trying to burnish its public image by teaming up with Berkshire Hathaway in an endeavour to help small businesses.
The two will form a joint venture in order to help 10,000 U.S. small businesses gain funding and resources, both of which are needed by many smaller firms around the country:
Bloomberg: The initiative would aim to provide assistance — ranging from counseling to obtaining funding — to 10,000 U.S. businesses, according to the people, who declined to be identified before the program is announced. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is the largest shareholder in New York-based Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs, the most profitable securities firm in Wall Street history, is trying to dispel criticism from lawmakers and pundits who portray the company as the greedy face of a financial industry whose excessive risk-taking fuelled the credit crisis. Unlike competitors that make home loans and provide small business credit lines, more than 90 per cent of Goldman Sachs’s pretax earnings this year came from trading and principal investments.
It’s not totally clear whether this is a pure business venture — the part about “counseling” — suggests it may be something more non-profit like.
While this could possibly help Goldman’s image (maybe), they better be really sure they don’t even slip up slightly, or do anything that critics can use as evidence that they’re screwing over the little guy. If they mess up, it will backfire badly.