Goldman Sachs to trump UK banks with top savings rate

The rate could be a boon for UK savers, who have suffered for years
The rate could be a boon for UK savers, who have suffered for years

Goldman Sachs is set to barge into the UK’s retail banking sector with a market leading rate for savers when the Wall Street titan formally launches its Marcus brand next month.

The US banking giant opened the easy access digital savings account to its UK-based employees on Thursday, ahead of a country-wide roll out planned “in the coming weeks”.

The Marcus brand - named after one of the bank’s founders Marcus Goldman - is meant to offer a high yield savings rate, higher than the national average.

It is understood that the tester rate for employees has been set at 1.5%, which would be a market-leading easy access savings rate if it were launched nationwide.

An internal memo sent to staff and seen by the Press Association did not confirm the interest rate being offered to employees, and cautioned that “the current interest rate offered may be subject to change for the nationwide launch, depending on market conditions.”

Unlike a current account, the savings account will not cater to direct debits but will allow for easy access to cash if needed.

But the rate would be a boon for UK savers, who have suffered for years amid record-low interest rates, with the average currently sitting at 0.55%, according to Moneyfacts.co.uk.

The highest is currently offered by the branch of another foreign bank, Bank of Cyprus UK, which offers a 1.41% rate on an easy access savings account for 12 months before dropping down to 0.85%.

Meanwhile, Virgin Money offers 1.3%.

The internal memo to Goldman Sachs staff said the bank was looking for “feedback before officially going to market.”

The Marcus launch will mark the brand’s first expansion outside the US and puts it among only a small number of digital only consumer-facing banks in the UK, including Starling Bank and Monzo, with no plans to run bricks-and-mortar branches.

The bank originally launched Marcus in the US in 2016, offering personal loans and savings accounts online.

“The launch of Marcus by Goldman Sachs in the UK represents an important milestone in the growth of Goldman Sachs’ consumer business, as well as continued diversification of the firm’s funding,” the note, signed by executives including Goldman Sachs international chief executive Richard Gnodde, said.

PA reported last month that the Wall Street giant had hired 150 extra staff in London in preparation for the UK-wide roll out.