Anthony Elliot said it was due to such irresponsible lending that so many Britons were facing a debt crisis.
He told Channel 4’s News at Noon that the current situation was a reflection of the “ease” with which consumers could acquire credit.
“The banks have been acting as bartenders over the last few years offering drink to people who have a drink problem,” said Mr Elliot.
His comments come as LloydsTSB, HSBC, Barclays and HBOS blame a massive rise in bad debt for denting profits and are now tightening their loans criteria.
Yet Mr Elliot criticised banks for also “complaining about bankruptcy and individual voluntary arrangements” even though they may have lent to people with no chance of repaying debt.