Goldman aims to diversify Marcus unit in buying fintech Clarity Money

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Goldman Sachs, which has been steadily ramping up its online-only consumer bank named Marcus, has bought the personal financial management app Clarity Money.

The price was not disclosed. Discussions between the two companies were reported earlier this year by Bloomberg News. Goldman announced Sunday that the deal was completed.

The move could strengthen Marcus' hand in the highly competitive market for online loans and accounts. It pays 1.6% on deposits and charges rates of 6.99% to 24.99% on loans of 36 to 72 months. At the end of 2017, it had more than $2.3 billion in loans and $17 billion in deposits.

Clarity Money provides a free app that helps consumers manage their personal finances, using machine learning to provide suggestions based on customers’ financial activity. According to Goldman, this acquisition will bring it more than 1 million additional customers.

Goldman said the acquisition of Clarity Money “is integral to Marcus’ vision of creating the leading platform for millions of consumers to take control of their financial lives — offering personalized products to save and borrow, that are simple, transparent and always on the side of the customer.”

Goldman said over time it will drop the Clarity Money name and rebrand the app Marcus.

Goldman's Marcus unit was formed in 2016 with the stated mission of helping consumers consolidate credit debt.

"There are tens of millions of Americans who are paying very high interest rates on their credit cards," Harit Talwar, head of digital finance at the investment bank, said at a conference last year. "What we perhaps don't sufficiently realize is the stigma around that. If you have a back problem, you talk to friends about it, maybe more than your friends want you to. But if you have high card debt, you tend to be embarrassed. And it doesn't need to be like that."

Goldman Sachs has been an active investor in fintech startups and currently has a stake in 27 firms, according to CB Insights. In January, it acquired the team behind the credit card startup Final.

According to Goldman’s press release, Clarity Money’s team of engineers, designers and marketers, including founder and CEO Adam Dell, will join the bank, Dell as a partner. Dell will continue to lead Clarity Money and will report to Talwar and Omer Ismail, chief commercial officer of digital finance.

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