Goldman Sachs is buying General Motors’ credit card business, according to people familiar with the matter, marking the bank’s second big-name credit-card partnership and another step towards balancing its Wall Street operations with heft in consumer finance.

Goldman will pay about $2.5bn for the portfolio, which has roughly that amount in outstanding balances, to the previous owner, Capital One. The deal was not yet finalised, one of the people said. The agreement was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Goldman had $2.3bn in card loans as of the end of the second quarter. But while that will now more than double, the total will remain small relative to the bank’s $1.1tn in assets.
In credit card co-branding deals, the bank partner owns the assets and liabilities of the portfolio while the corporate partner, in this case GM, takes a fixed share of the profits.

In a note to clients, Brian Kleinhanzl, banking analyst at KBW, wrote that Goldman appeared to be paying a “small premium” for the portfolio. Assuming the asset had an 8 per cent yield, he said the deal would be slightly accretive to Goldman’s earnings next year. “Management is executing on the strategy laid out at investor day” in January, he wrote.

Goldman’s core businesses in trading and capital markets has become less profitable and less appealing to investors, due to higher capital requirements and a widespread shareholder aversion to earnings volatility.

David Solomon, Goldman’s chief executive, has responded with a push into Main Street finance, most notably with the digital bank Marcus, which has $92bn in deposits; a high-profile credit card partnership with Apple; and investments in wealth management. In the first half of the year, though, consumer revenues amounted to just 13 per cent of the bank’s total.

This week, Goldman announced that it was changing the organisational structure of its consumer finance unit and placing it under new leadership. The new “consumer and wealth management” division will contain no institutional businesses — aligning it with the way the bank reports its financial results — and will be run by Stephanie Cohen and Tucker York.

Ms Cohen, formerly the bank’s chief strategy officer, will be the only woman running a large division at Goldman, and the first to do so in several years.
Goldman Sachs and General Motors declined to comment. Capital One did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Source: Financial Times

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