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Goldman Sachs Reports Steep Fall in Profit, Highlighting Bank’s Woes

Goldman Sachs reported a profit of $1.1 billion in the second quarter, down more than 60 percent from last year.

The bank in particular highlighted write-downs in the value of its commercial real estate portfolio, a $1.2 billion hit to profit, and the buy-now-pay-later firm GreenSky, which subtracted nearly $700 million from its earnings. Goldman acquired GreenSky less than two years ago, as part of an ill-fated foray into consumer lending.

Quarterly revenue, at $10.9 billion, was 8 percent lower than last year.

The bank employed 44,600 people at the end of June, down 2,400 from the same period last year. Goldman has gone through at least three rounds of layoffs this year, taking head count down 8 percent so far this year.

This seems to have been a rip-the-Band-Aid-off quarter for Goldman. The real estate write-down, in particular, appeared to pack potential losses into the period.

There are, however, good reasons for the move. Remote or hybrid work appears here to stay, and that has bleak implications for office space and landlords in many cities. Having already conceded some losses in that area, Goldman can now shift attention to other areas of the business.

“This quarter reflects continued strategic execution of our goals,” David Solomon, Goldman’s chief executive, said in a statement.

The big question for Mr. Solomon is whether he can convince investors — and many inside his own firm — of a return to the much-feared Goldman of yore.

Unlike more diversified lenders like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman relies heavily on its Wall Street franchise, and corporate activity has been muted in the face of economic uncertainty, rising interest rates and the like. That means that if there is a prolonged chill in deal-making, there may be little that the bank can do to fully insulate itself.

The bank is nearly a year into an extended apologia for its consumer woes, which at one point included Marcus, a consumer division named after the company’s founder.

The bank is still unwinding the businesses, at a loss, and it may expect more ugly headlines until that is finished.

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Mohammad SHiblu

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