Barclays and Goldman Sachs vie for General Motors' credit card arm

Goldman has been pushing to diversify away from its core investment banking business - targeting iPhone users, Amazon users and now drivers


Barclays is locked in a bidding war with Goldman Sachs for  the $3bn (£2.3bn) credit card arm of US carmaker General Motors, insiders have said.

The pair are both chasing the business as they eye a future where drivers order coffee and takeaways from their cars, sources told the Wall Street Journal.

Winning the battle would be a significant victory for Barclays - whose boss Jes Staley is seeking to cement its place as a transatlantic bank able to bring the gap between the US and Europe - and a rare example of a UK finance firm buying an operation in America. A decision is expected in the coming weeks. 

For Wall Street giant Goldman, which teamed up with Amazon in June, securing a deal with GM would push it further into consumer banking after years of trying to diversify away from its core investment banking business.  

Last year the firm launched its first credit card after forming a partnership with Apple, a venture that replaced a long-standing rewards card partnership between Apple and Barclays.

A series of viral social media posts published in 2019 claimed that female Apple Card customers were offered smaller credit limits than men. 

Goldman launched its retail banking brand Marcus in 2016, offering online savings accounts and personal loans. Bosses have set themselves a target of generating $5bn of revenue from new sources in a bid to boost profits. 

Named after the bank’s founder Marcus Goldman, the brand launched in the UK in 2018 and signed up 50,000 customers in its first fortnight with a then-market leading savings rate. It later formed an alliance with Saga, the over-50s insurance and travel company.

If the US bank secured a deal with GM it would likely pay a small premium to buy its credit card portfolio in the hope of making up the money by encouraging more spending and cross-selling new cardholders other products, the Wall Street Journal said. 

Spokesmen for Barclays and Goldman declined to comment and General Motors did not respond.