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Personetics Podcast EP08 With Harit Talwar, Former Global Head of Marcus by Goldman Sachs

This week’s guest on Banking on Innovation is Harit Talwar, who in 2015 joined Goldman Sachs to establish Marcus and build a differentiated consumer business. Marcus went on to become of the most impactful challenger banks in history, offering financial products known for their simplicity and transparency. To date, it has around 16 million retail customers, more than $120 billion in consumer deposits, and revenues in the $1.5-$2 billion range. Although few people believed that true innovation could come from within a 150-year-old institution, one of Marcus’s advantages was precisely its heritage.

“Regulatory compliance, risk management, and capital management is in our DNA. And while these things may not sound very sexy, they’re absolutely critical to be a successful disruptor in a regulated industry,” says Harit. Another advantage was its “customer-obsessive” approach, says Harit, who previously served as President of US Cards for Discover Financial Services and managing director of Morgan Stanley’s Consumer Banking Group International. By the time he left Marcus in 2021, they had interviewed 100,000 consumers, directly and indirectly, to keep in touch with their wants and needs.

The bank identified that customers “think banks are in it for themselves.” The white space, therefore, “was to demonstrate that you are a brand and financial services organization which is on the side of the customer… And to demonstrate this in every transaction, you must be simple and you must be transparent.” This became the foundation of Marcus’s disruptive approach, which includes eliminating confusing jargon, inflexible products, and hidden fees.

PLUS you’ll discover: – Why Harit looked for business models outside the banking industry – How he hired a team of exceptional “unicorns” – and where he found them – Why he wasn’t looking to deliver an innovative product (and where he tried to innovate instead) – Banks’ ethical obligations in the way they leverage customer data – The next frontier in applying AI to enhance the customer experience – Why Harit believes the banking industry is ripe for further disruption – and the institutions he perceives as vulnerable.

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