Goldman Sachs apologized for the role it played in the financial crisis by taking part in the credit boom which preceded the bursting of the bubble, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.
"We participated in things that were clearly wrong and have reason to regret," the paper quoted Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs' chief executive, as telling a corporate conference in New York. "We apologize," Blankfein said.
He also told the conference that his remark in the British newspaper Sunday Times that Goldman did "God's work" had been meant as a joke and that he wished he had not made it.
The bank, facing criticism over its outsized profits and bonuses, will contribute $500 million to programs that help small businesses.
Goldman's 10,000 Businesses initiative will commit $300 million to help small businesses get capital. The initiative also will commit $200 million for business and management education programs.
The advisory council for the initiative will include Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein, investor Warren Buffett and Michael Porter of Harvard Business School.
Goldman also announced last month that it donated $200 million to the Goldman Sachs Foundation, its charitable arm. That announcement came on the same day Goldman reported third- quarter net income of more than $3 billion.
Goldman set aside nearly $17 billion in the first three quarters of 2009 to pay employees, just months after it repaid the $10 billion it borrowed from taxpayers.
- Reuters contributed to this report