The appointment of Mr Scherr, 50, who is currently global head of financing, was announced in internal Goldman memos, and includes a role to "help co-ordinate our lending business as we leverage our existing bank platform to provide credit to both corporate and individual clients."
Mr Scherr has been working with Lloyd Blankfein, chief executive, for several weeks to work out how to increase the size of Goldman's commercial bank, according to the people familiar with the moves. The development is a potential threat to incumbents such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America.
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It represents the latest shift of focus for Goldman, which has traditionally operated a small balance sheet, concentrating on trading, advising companies and raising their debt and equity. It grew in 1999 when it went public and only became a bank holding company during the financial crisis.
The move into more bank lending will not involve a big retail presence, and there are no plans for Goldman branches across the US. But the wealthiest individuals will be a target for the bank's expansion, and for the potential expansion of the private wealth management division.
Goldman's wealth management division caters for a far richer clientele than rivals such as Morgan Stanley. Gary Cohn, Goldman president, told a conference last week that the average account balance was $40m.