Goldman Sachs is scaling back expectations for the buzzy 2-year-old service its new CEO is relying on, and it highlights a major concern with the US economy

Getty Images.Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon
  • Goldman Sachs has cut loan origination targets for its consumer lending platform Marcus for 2019, according to a Bloomberg report.
  • The pullback reflects the firm’s growing concerns about the consumer debt market, the report said.
  • Marcus is a key part of Goldman CEO David Solomon’s growth plans for the bank.

Goldman Sachs is cutting a key target for its consumer lending platform Marcus, reflecting the firm’s growing concerns about the consumer debt market, according to a new report.

Goldman has scaled back loan originations for 2019 for Marcus, according to a Bloomberg report on Monday which cited anonymous sources.

The story didn’t detail the new targets and a Goldman spokesman declined to comment.

“Given the competitive dynamics in the marketplace, a respect for prospective risk management, and potentially changing priorities at the firm, we would not be surprised to see some scaling back or modulation of the growth plans for the unsecured lending component of Marcus,” a Credit Suisse report said on Monday.

Marcus is a key part of new Goldman CEO David Solomon’s plans to grow revenue at the bank over the next several years. The company said last year it sees a $US1 billion revenue opportunity with Marcus over three years.

As of June 30th, Marcus has originated $US4 billion in loans, the bank said.

Yet as Marcus has grown, it’s raised questions from bank analysts about the credit quality of its loans, especially as the bank has said that a chunk of its loan book is subprime.

Robin Vince, Goldman’s chief risk officer, responded to some of these concerns during an investor call in August. “Our growth at the Marcus loan portfolio will continue to be prudent and disciplined. We are lending to creditworthy customers with a demonstrated ability to pay. The business is not under pressure to reach volume targets.”

Marcus was first launched in the US in 2016 and is a key part of the firm’s effort to diversity revenue sources and boost earnings as once lucrative trading revenue has slowed.

In April, Marcus acquired Clarity Money, a personal finance startup, to add more than 1 million additional customers to the company.

And last week, Goldman launched Marcus savings account service in the UK, which offers customers a savings account paying an interest rate of 1.5% for one year. Around 50,000 customers in the country has signed up for the retail product in the span of one week.

Goldman Sach’s move to cut its loan targets came at a time when there is growing concern among lenders about the potential for increased losses in consumer credit amid rising interest rates.

U.S. household debt hit a new peak to $US13.3 trillion in the second quarter of this year, while mortgages balances – the largest component of household debt – rose to a total of $US9 trillion during that period, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Meanwhile, total U.S. consumer debt is on pace to reach $US4 trillion by the end of 2018, a report by LendingTree said.

The Federal Reserve has increased interest rates, which helps gauge rates for consumer borrowing like mortgages and credit cards, for the third time this year. The rate now stands in a range of 2% to 2.25%, compare to 0.50% and 0.75% in December 2016.

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