Alphabet unit Google has scrapped its plans to offer "Plex" checking and savings bank accounts in partnership with Citigroup, Inc., Stanford Federal Credit Union and a handful of other banks, according to The Wall Street Journal online.
Financial institutions have been bracing for Google, with its worldwide reach, to enter their respective industries -- everything from retirement savings, to brokerage accounts to mortgages have been seen as fair game.
"Abandoning plans to pitch bank accounts to its users, [Google is] marking a retreat from an effort to make the tech giant a bigger name in finance," the WSJ writes. It was almost two years ago that Google first announced "users of its Google Pay digitial wallet would be able to sign up for enhanced checking accounts and debit cards at a handful of financial institutions, large and small. The new offerings, called Plex accounts, would sync with Google Pay, carry both Google and bank branding and provide a digital dashboard of where and how users spent and saved."
To some extent, Mint.com, which aggregates information on peoples' finances and bank accounts (including nonliquid holdings such as real estate, jewelery, art and other collectibles) already these services.
Other technology behemoths, including Amazon.com, Apple Inc. and Facebook Inc., have also put their plans to offer financial products and services, even cryptocurrencies, to consumers, on hold. The reasons they give are logistical challenges, reach and cost. In addition, disruptions to business, jobs and work, sinc ethe onset of COVID-19 in March 2019, forced these and other companies to stall their plans.
For Google's part, one of the executives put in charge of the Plex project, Bill Ready, who came on board in April from PayPay Holdings Inc., was reportedly uncomfortable with leading U.S. banks and financial institutions thinking that Google was encroaching on their territory.
However, media relations officials at other banks told The Wall Street Journal that Google is moving ahead with its plans to enter the financial services arena in a big way.
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