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Goldman Sachs Online Bank?

There have been news [3] reports [4] that Goldman Sachs, which recently became a bank holding company, might be considering opening an online bank as a means to generate deposits. Yesterday, Marketplace [5] did a story about the report and here were some interesting quotes (and you should’ve heard these two guys too):

HOWARD DAVIDOWITZ (retail consultant in New York): This is a company that deals at the highest levels with America’s largest corporations, in the most sensitive sorts of deals, with the wealthiest people in the world. I don’t see how this enhances their brand.

JON OGG (investment advisor): If they want to do that, then they might as well start selling stamps online too.

I loved how these two guys seemed to look down at people who use online banks as somehow beneath them. I’ll take my 100% safe, government guaranteed high yield savings account [6] thank you very much.

There was one quote that I did agree with:

RICHARD SPEER: There’s no shortage of Internet banking offerings. In general, most of those have been very successful in attracting high-rate deposits. They have not been successful in building relationships.

There are a lot of online banks and there isn’t much relationship building going on. I’m going to send my deposits to whichever bank will offer me the highest rates. However, I’d argue that I have no relationship with Bank of America, the bank that I have my checking account with, either. I’d also say that outside of my business checking accounts with M&T Bank, I’ve never had a relationship with any bank I’ve done business with.

Speer is right, if they want deposits, they’ll have to pony up a good interest rate.