Carey Halio (Guatemala) — From the Peace Corps to Goldman Sachs
Carey Halio CEO, Goldman Sachs Bank USA
In some ways Carey Halio (Guatemala 1995-97) is a world away from the Peace Corps service that ignited her interest in finance. In others she’s bringing learnings from the Guatemalan mountains to Main Street, USA.
Halio is the CEO of Goldman Sachs’ banking subsidiary, a fledgling unit inside the 150-year-old firm behind some of its most innovative products. She took the CEO job two years ago after four years as CFO.
“When I joined the bank in 2014, it was this quiet little sleepy subsidiary that hadn’t done anything interesting,” she says. “We’re now at this point where we are using this platform to transform Goldman Sachs.”
Marcus, Apple Card, transaction banking. The businesses and brand names use cutting-edge tech to touch millions of customers. Together they’ve attracted tens of billions in customer cash that’s been used to lower Goldman’s funding costs and bolster its ability to weather a financial crisis.
Halio had never heard of Goldman when, as the first in her immediate family to pursue higher education, she attended liberal-arts school Whittier College near her southern California home. She moved to Guatemala after graduation for the Peace Corps and helped women with microfinance efforts to sell tomatoes or handwoven clothing before returning to the States for Columbia’s business school.
Halio was one of the execs to present at Goldman’s first-ever investor day. And she played a vocal role defending Goldman against allegations of gender-biased underwriting on the Apple Card.
“I wanted to make sure we were being proactive as possible,” Halio says, adding that she thought a lot about her experience in Guatemala, where women are the ones to get loans because of their higher likelihood to reinvest money into the family.
Now Halio is focused on helping Goldman transform in critical areas behind the scenes: funding, operational, and structural improvements.
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I’m sure that Carey’s experience in the highlands of Guatemala was useful. As far back as 1940, a five year study on the Indian Economy, “Penny Capitalism” by Sol Tax revealed the importance of Indigenous women in the highlands in managing money and developing small businesses –a separate, parallel economy in which the majority of rural Guatemalans were part of although it was almost totally unregulated and not supported by the government at all.
I also saw several Goldman Sachs commercials recently promoting new programs to provide loans for low income housing, so Carey should be a positive addition to this financial giant. Here’s hoping they might do something in Guatemala as well..