Bank chiefs who steer major institutions to the rocks and damage the economy could face jail under new laws being considered by ministers.
The Treasury said a new offence of corporate negligence is among options being considered to increase the tools available to punish reckless bankers.
Tory MP Matthew Hancock, a close ally of Chancellor George Osborne, told the Mail on Sunday it would target those who could be considered "negligent or grossly negligent in their conduct".
A Treasury spokesman said it would consult on proposals in the spring, and added that "all options are on the table" - including the creation of a criminal offence.
Tougher punishments for bankers who took too many risks were called for by the head of the City regulator last month after its investigation into the near-collapse of RBS.
Adair Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), spoke out after it took no action against the bosses of the part-nationalised bank. While RBS chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin and his team had made bad decisions they had not broken any existing rules, he said.
Mr Hancock, previously Mr Osborne's chief of staff, is due to set out details of the proposed changes later this week in a speech to the Policy Exchange think-tank.
It comes on the eve of bonus season in the City and amid a political charge by all main parties to meet a public desire to see high earners held properly to account.
"Those who put our big banks at risk... should be held to account, just as with those who destroy property or endanger the health of their fellow citizens," Mr Hancock is expected to say.
"Sir Fred Goodwin broke one of Britain's biggest banks, yet walked away with a huge pension. I want to see a law which makes it possible to prosecute executives for serious financial recklessness."
© 2012 Press Association