Goldman Sachs is spreading its wings after years of attempting to retreat from Wall Street's limelight in the wake of the global financial crisis.
That means exporting the bank's brand into new markets, making deals and striking partnerships, and probably using competitors' weaknesses against them. Now, its next challenge comes not from the traditional businesses upon which the bank has built its reputation, but Goldman Sachs' quiet push into consumer businesses long occupied by its Wall Street competitors.
"For Goldman Sachs, the question is: What will they become when they grow up," said CLSA banks analyst Mike Mayo.
It's also a matter of how the bank grows up. While Goldman is going digital, it is not expected the bank will make any big deals in a financial technology sector that has generated outsized valuations recently. The bank already acquired online wealth manager Honest Dollar in March. The build-out of its online lending program, for now dubbed "Mosaic," is an internal priority for the bank.
For Goldman Sachs, which has already placed various early-stage investments into fintech companies, partnerships may be more common than mergers and acquisitions.
Two sources said Goldman had selectively spoken with companies, including online lenders, about expanding its network of partnerships among fintech start-ups. The bank declined to comment regarding digital plans. But, last week, Goldman announced plans to sell investments developed by online investment platform Motif.