Britain's finance minister says "the party" is over for bankers who were at the heart of "this almighty car crash."
Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling told the BBC Thursday that bankers must realize their behaviour has to change, blaming banks for spinning the world into its financial crisis.
"The key thing to get across to bankers is that for them the party has got to be over," he said in an interview with the BBC.
"After all, there are very few bankers in the world who would still be standing if it hand't been for the fact that taxpayers all over the world had to step in and save them last year."
Mr. Darling's comments came before he left for the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh, which begins Thursday amid mounting controversy over bankers' bonuses and calls to curb excess.
"What's the origin of this crisis?" he said. It's frankly that banks started buying and selling products that they didn't understand. It's hardly surprising then that there's this almighty car crash. The tragedy is that it wasn't them that suffered. It was everybody else because the world economy plunged into a recession."
Europe is leading a push at the G20 summit for new rules that would restrict bonuses deemed to have led to risky behaviour.
Separately Thursday, Bank of England Governor Mervyn King told the BBC that two big British banks were just hours away from collapsing last October.
Mr. Kingsaid the credit crunch that followed the failure of Lehman Brothers pushed Royal Bank of Scotland PLC and HBOS to the edge Oct. 6 and 7.
"Two of our major banks which had had difficulty in obtaining funding could raise money only for one week then only for one day and then on that Monday and Tuesday it was not possible even for those two banks really to be confident they could get to the end of the day," King was quoted as saying.
The failure of the two banks would have frozen deposits and salary payments, in turn making people unable to pay bills, further disrupting the flow of payments throughout the wider economy.
"We only really knew by probably about seven o'clock at night (on Oct. 7), that we, that everyone was going to get through to the next day," said David Soanes, the managing director of UBS Bank who was part of the government's emergency response group that week.
With files from The Associated Press