New Google checking accounts threaten to shake up banking industry

Google announces plans for partnerships with traditional institutions in 2020, with banks and credit unions supplying the banking and the tech giant providing the state-of-the-art interfaces. Must your institution become a Google partner or become toast? And if you don't join, will Google crush you in search results?

There are more analysts and pundits talking about the Google plan to offer “smart checking accounts” in partnership with financial institutions than there are facts about the deal.

“The amount of attention this is getting is out of proportion to the details,” says industry blogger Ron Shevlin, Director of Research at Cornerstone Advisors.

Yet after many warnings about the Big Tech threat to financial institutions and several concrete moves, notably the launch of Apple Card with Goldman Sachs, the banking industry is watching this development with intense interest. It could bring significant changes to the fabric of how the industry serves consumers.

News of the tech giant’s partnership with Citibank and with Stanford Federal Credit Union came out in mid-November 2019 in a bare bones story in The Wall Street Journal. No official announcement came out of Google nor Citibank, though the credit union published a short written statement in the wake of the article. The two institutions are partnering with the search and tech giant to offer co-branded “smart” checking accounts through the Google Pay program starting in 2020.


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