Marcus Executive Moves to Walmart. New Digital Bank in the Works?

Marcus executive Omer Ismail has left Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) for Walmart (NYSE: WMT), according to a report in Bloomberg.

Marcus has emerged as a top digital bank in the US growing rapidly in both users and services provided minus bank branches. The report states that Ismail, along with a “top lieutenant” David Stark, will be joining Walmart’s Fintech venture.

In January, Walmart said it was getting into Fintech with longtime Fintech investor Ribbit Capital. The startup is expected to provide “modern, innovative, and affordable financial solutions.”

Walmart said the Fintech venture will combine its retail expertise with Ribbits Fintech cred. At that time, John Furner, President and CEO of Walmart US, stated:

“For years, millions of customers have put their trust in Walmart to not only save them money when they shop with us but help them manage their financial needs. And they’ve made it clear they want more from us in the financial services arena. We’re thrilled to work with Ribbit Capital in a new venture to help us deliver innovative and needed options to our customers and associates – with speed and at scale.”

A growing number of digital banks are challenging the hegemony of incumbent banks that are frequently hesitant to incorporate dramatic change while being saddled with expensive physical locations. While a good percentage of bank customers still depend on local bank branches, a younger demographic is more comfortable with managing their finances on their smartphone.

Ismail’s exit from Marcus is being described as a significant loss for Goldman and, correspondingly, a big win for Walmart. As Walmart has sizable resources, you can expect a big announcement soon on providing financial services to its customers – most likely at a lower cost than traditional banking firms.

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