Goldman Sachs notches worst annual profit in four years

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By Dan Sears

Goldman Sachs reported its lowest annual profit since 2019 following losses from a failed expansion into consumer banking — combined with an economic slowdown that hit its primary businesses last year, the Wall Street giant said Tuesday.

The drag on its bottom line came despite the bank posting fourth-quarter earnings that beat analyst expectations, Goldman CEO David Solomon told analysts.

The bank reported net income of $8.5 billion for 2023 — a 24% drop from 2022 and the lowest level the bank has seen in four years.

Year over profit increased 51% to $2.01 billion for the quarter ending last December. Goldman’s quarterly revenue jumped 7% year over year to $11.32 — a number that beat the $10.8 billion analysts had predicted.

Its better-than-expected quarter came after eight consecutive quarters of earnings declines amid a dramatic retreat from the company’s retail banking efforts.

While Goldman tried to build out its consumer business over the last few years, it has had to largely scrap those efforts and sell off chunks of its consumer lending business.

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Goldman Sachs saw its profit slump to the lowest level since 2019.
Goldman Sachs saw its profit slump to the lowest level since 2019. Bloomberg via Getty Images

One bright spot was the bank’s asset and wealth management division — a group Goldman has focused on building up — which saw revenue jump 23%.

Goldman stock jumped nearly 2% at the market open — climbing to more than $384 per share.

Solomon acknowledged the difficulties the bank faced in 2023 on an earnings call after the earnings report — but said the company was set up for a better year ahead.

“This was a year of execution for Goldman Sachs,” Solomon said in a statement. “With everything we achieved in 2023 coupled with our clear and simplified strategy, we have a much stronger platform for 2024.”


Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon testifies on Wednesday.
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon insisted that the company was set up for a better year ahead. AFP via Getty Images

Solomon was defensive about the firm’s disappointing annual performance.

“I don’t think it’s fair to say the whole year was back to 2019 levels,” Solomon, who took over for Lloyd Blankfein in 2018, told an analyst.

Goldman Chief Financial Officer Denis Coleman also painted a rosy picture for the year ahead — and said that just two weeks into the year, there seems to already be more solid market activity.

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The bank slashed thousands of jobs over the last year, decreasing payroll by 7%.

Goldman, like its other peers, also had to set aside money for a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. fee to replenish a fund used to help depositors after a bank failure. The fund needed to be restored after being drawn down following the failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

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