Mervyn King has accepted the role financial services played in leading the country into recession and admitted policymakers did not do enough to prevent it.
Speaking today at the Trade Union Congress (TUC) annual conference in Manchester, the Bank of England governor discussed the events of the past few years and the impact on delegates.
He said: "We let it slip - we, that is, in the financial sector and as policymakers - not your members nor the many businesses and organisations around the country which employ them.
"And although the causes of the crisis may have been rooted in the financial sector, the consequences are affecting everyone, and will continue to do so for years to come."
He also addressed the anger felt by many that, while banks had been bailed out by the government, other companies, such as Jaguar, had to fend for themselves.
Mr King added: "There was nothing fair about the financial crisis. It was caused not by problems in the real economy; it came out of the financial sector.
"But it was the real economy that suffered and the banks that were bailed out."
He also recognised the way in which bonuses encouraged excessive risk-taking and reiterated the point that tighter regulation is needed to avoid a repeat of the economic crisis.
The governor's appearance at the TUC conference had been a controversial one, with RMT leader Bob Crow and fellow union members boycotting.
Paul Bruns and Elaine Parkes
3,000 left to transfer
Record numbers of people aged 90 plus
From 3 to 10 October