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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Financial firms are getting in on the podcast mania.

By the numbers: All but two of the 10 biggest U.S. financial institutions by revenue have podcasts — the majority of which debuted within the past year, according to data compiled for Axios by analytics firm Chartable.

Driving the news: Goldman Sachs is testing a new format for its "Exchanges" podcast — the first of which premiered on Sunday. It's a soft launch of what it plans to release more regularly in January.

  • The firm launched another podcast, "Top of Mind at Goldman Sachs," earlier this year.

Between the lines: Financial firms' podcasts aren't exactly thrillers like "Serial," but rather another avenue banks can use to push their brand and stable of experts — and maybe lure in new clients.

  • For Wells Fargo, which launched its second podcast this year, it's a potential opportunity to rebrand.
  • "Podcasts allow you to remove the middleman and speak to customers in your own voice," John Oxford, director of marketing at Renasant Bank, a regional bank that will launch its own podcast in next few months, tells Axios.

The conversations take the form of one-on-one interviews — i.e. Bank of America's newest podcast features Arianna Huffington and Ken Burns — or more sober-minded educational segments on sustainable investing or the Federal Reserve.

  • Citigroup is one of the lone holdouts, keeping audio interviews with its strategists on its websites. But it sponsors Euromoney podcasts, as Fortune reported — essentially like a more traditional commercial that allows firms to tack on messaging.

The bottom line: "In a world where there's no differentiation between [financial] products," financial firms are using podcasts as a marketing mechanism to sell their brand, says Louise Beaumont, chair of Message Heard, which developed a podcast for NatWest, a U.K.-based commercial bank, this year.

  • Of note: Neobanks like Chime, Varo and Acorns are so far sitting out the podcast frenzy, though they are surely advertising on existing podcasts.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

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President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

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The markets just closed out a manic week.

Why it matters: Outsized — and in some cases historic — moves were evident across the board.