NEW YORK: The head of Goldman Sachs has apologised for the Wall Street bank’s role in helping to create the financial crisis.
After being ridiculed for saying he was doing God’s work, and having seen his company labelled a “bloodsucking vampire squid”, Goldman’s Lloyd Blankfein delivered a mea culpa to a conference in New York.
“We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret,” Blankfein said. “We apologise.” As the world’s most successful investment bank, Goldman was involved in many of the practices that led to the credit crunch, such as the creation of “toxic” mortgage-backed securities.
At the height of the crisis last year, Goldman took a $10 billion capital injection from the US government, which it later repaid. Despite the economic downturn the company made $3 billion in the last quarter and has set aside $16.7 billion to pay staff bonuses.
Goldman’s rapid recovery has generated anger around the world, at a time when millions of people have lost their jobs. On Monday, about 100 people gathered outside its New York offices to demand that it hand over its huge bonuses to help struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure.
The pressure on Goldman intensified in July when Rolling Stone magazine published an in-depth feature on the bank. “The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money,” wrote Matt Taibbi.
Faced with criticism, Goldman announced yesterday that it was putting $500 million aside to help 10,000 small US businesses.