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Digital-only banks are redefining retail banking in major markets around the world. Spurred on by consumer frustrations with incumbents and growing willingness to use digital channels for accessing financial services, these tech-savvy players have acquired customers at pace and ramped up pressure on established firms.

In the US, these challengers — which combine innovative technology to curb the operational costs of running a bank with a sharp focus on the consumer experience — got off to a slower start than elsewhere, especially compared with Europe. But they've begun gaining traction in the last year, with San Francisco-based neobank Chime recently passing the 2 million opened accounts mark, and Varo Money securing preliminary approval for a banking license in September. One of the most unique players at the forefront of this disruption, though, is a challenger brand, dubbed Marcus, launched not by a startup but by Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs.

To understand why Goldman launched Marcus and how it has set about disrupting retail banking in the US, Business [...]