Top Goldman Sachs bankers to help Walmart forge new fintech startup

Walmart Inc, in a bid to foray into the banking business has secured a pair of senior Goldman Sachs bankers to help lead a new fintech startup.

Sources say that Omer Ismail, the head of Goldman’s consumer bank, is making a surprise exit to the fintech.

Last month, Walmart disclosed its plans to offer financial services with an independent venture in a tie-up with investment firm Ribbit Capital without offering much detail.

The sources also said that David Stark, one of the top lieutenants at Goldman, will join the new venture

Walmart’s move to poach the top talents of one of Wall Street’s elite firms underscores the seriousness of the world’s largest retailer’s intent to involve itself in the financial lives of its customers.

Ismail, in particular, offers rare credentials. He’s credited as one of the key architects behind Goldman’s push into Main Street, seeing through the growth of Marcus into a billion-dollar business in five years.

The departures are a setback for Goldman, which had just entrusted Ismail and Stark with bigger roles.

Ismail formally assumed control of the consumer bank at the start of the year. But he’s been tied to it ever since Goldman’s merchant bank set up the side project several years ago.

Stark too played a key role in Goldman’s partnership with Apple Inc. on a credit card, for which the bank provides the financial backbone. Weeks ago, Goldman named Stark as the head of large partnerships.

Fintech ventures typically offer customers low-cost products by eschewing physical branches, and instead using online portals or phones to provide loans, savings accounts or investment options.

Walmart will own a majority of the new venture, but in Ribbit, it has a partner that’s made big bets in the fintech space including backing Robinhood Markets Inc., the popular no-fee brokerage.

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