Goldman Sachs' (GS) upstart digital consumer bank is looking to attract new customers by partnering with a digitally-savvy retail mortgage lender.
Marcus by Goldman Sachs is teaming up with Guaranteed Rate, one of the largest retail mortgage lenders in the U.S., to offer customers seeking to consolidate their debt or fund a home improvement project. Applicants who are approved can access its fixed-rate, no-fee personal loans of up to $40,000.
To be sure, Goldman isn't getting into mortgage lending, or facilitating mortgages by personal loans. Instead, the idea is to open itself up to new customers who might not have used Marcus through this distributive relationship.
"We have talked a lot about how we are thinking about Marcus' growth strategy. We love to be at places where customers shop," Abhinav Anand, Marcus’ head of consumer loans, told Yahoo Finance in a telephone interview.
Victor Ciardelli, the founder and CEO of Guaranteed Rate, explained that one of the opportunities is for customers to use a personal loan to consolidate debt and improve their FICO score — which can lead to a better rate for new mortgages or refinancing.
Initial feedback from consumers “has exceeded all our expectations," Ciardelli said.
Another challenge the Marcus personal loan solves for is when home sellers need to make improvements to the property to get the opportunity for the maximum value of a home.
Real estate professionals “now have a tool to help them maximize home values and quicker salability of homes, and it also gives an opportunity for sellers to also get out of the home they're in and get into another home that they want," Ciardelli added.
According to Ciardelli, it was Guaranteed Rate which first approached Goldman Sachs about the strategic partnership.
Anand added that it made sense because Guaranteed Rate is a "like-minded brand" with a focus on "customer-centricity." He also noted that Marcus' digital offering integrates well with the technology stack of Guaranteed Rate, which was the first lender to offer a digital mortgage.
Ciardelli added that the experience his customers see so far with Marcus is that it's easy, efficient, and comes from "a trusted brand."
Even though Marcus won’t be the source of mortgage lending, Guaranteed Rate's loan officers will feature the Marcus tab on the front page of their websites, and it will also be on the homepage of the corporate website.
The lender's real estate partners can also refer home buyers and sellers to those sites to apply for personal loans.
"As this partnership would grow, we have plans, and we are very sure that the customers for Guaranteed Rate would start looking at Marcus products across their financial lifecycle," Anand said.
Goldman's upstart financial services platform that caters to younger, technology-savvy consumers made its debut three years ago. It's named after the bank's founder, Marcus Goldman, and is described by the bank as "a startup within a 150-year old firm." This summer, Marcus received a J.D. Power award for U.S. personal loan satisfaction.
Traditionally, Goldman's clients had included corporations, financial institutions, governments, and high-net-worth individuals, but not Main Street consumers.
To date, Marcus has over 4 million customers, and it's given out north of $5 billion in consumer loans and accumulated close to $55 billion in deposits. This summer, Marcus partnered with Apple for Apple Card, a digital and physical credit card.
Julia La Roche is a Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.