What You Need to Know
- The bankers were key players in the fast growth of Goldman's Marcus offering.
- The poaching punctuates years of warnings by bank leaders that their industry faces new challengers.
- Walmart will offer financial services through a tie-up with Ribbit Capital.
Walmart has lured a pair of senior Goldman Sachs bankers to help lead a new fintech startup as the retail giant muscles into the banking business. Omer Ismail, the head of Goldman’s consumer bank, is making a surprise exit to the fintech, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The world’s largest retailer made a splash last month after disclosing plans to offer financial services with an independent venture in a tie-up with investment firm Ribbit Capital without offering much detail.
David Stark, one of his top lieutenants at Goldman, will join him in the new venture, the people said, asking not to be identified as the moves haven’t been announced.
“Our business has serious momentum and a deep and growing bench of talent,” said Andrew Williams, a Goldman Sachs spokesman. “We wish these two well.” Walmart didn’t immediately respond to calls seeking comment.
Walmart’s move — depriving one of Wall Street’s elite firms of the talent atop its own foray into online banking — underscores the seriousness of the retailer’s intent to intertwine itself in the financial lives of its customers. The audacious poaching punctuates years of warnings by bank leaders that their industry faces tough new challengers, after regulators smoothed the way for corporate giants and Silicon Valley to expand into payments and other services.
Ismail, in particular, offers rare credentials. He’s credited as one of the key architects behind Goldman’s push into Main Street, seeing through the growth of Marcus into a billion-dollar business in five years.
The departures are a setback for Goldman, which had just entrusted Ismail and Stark with bigger roles. Ismail formally assumed control of the consumer bank at the start of the year. But he’s been tied to it ever since Goldman’s merchant bank set up the side project several years ago.