Goldman Sachs, others push to offer more loans to investors

Goldman Sachs is looking to lend wealthy investors up to $25 million, using their stocks and bonds as collateral.

The investment bank announced a partnership Thursday with Fidelity Investments under which it will offer investors loans starting at $75,000. The loans will be backed by the stocks and bonds the investors hold in Fidelity-held brokerage accounts. US Bank is also participating as a lender.

A number of Wall Street brokerage houses offer these kinds of loans, which can be a way for investors to get cash without selling investments. For example, a wealthy customer looking to buy a house may use his or her assets to make an all-cash offer on a house in order to be more competitive, and then later refinance the loan with a mortgage.

It's become a growing business for Wall Street firms, as trading revenue has declined due to the rise of discount brokerage houses and other cheaper forms of investing. Morgan Stanley said last week that lending in its wealth management division grew 6 percent from a year earlier.

The Goldman and US Bank loans will be through a network of 3,500 wealth management firms that use Fidelity as a clearinghouse for their clients' assets, not through Fidelity's retail branches. These are not 401(k) loans, and are largely aimed at wealthy customers.

While the loans may start with a wealth adviser, and are using the assets held by Fidelity, the money for the loan is ultimately coming from Goldman Sachs and US Bank.