Speaking to the Financial Times Deutschland, Mr Steinbrueck claimed the management skills of bankers left a lot to be desired, although he played down the impact of the credit crunch on Germany.
"The snooty attitude that we have sometimes seen - under the motto of 'we are cleverer than the others' - ended in disaster," the minister told the newspaper.
Prior to the credit crunch that brought chaos to financial markets in August, calls had been made in Germany to increase transparency in banking. He said these had been "mocked" at the time but that bankers were now learning harsh lessons about the need for risk awareness.
Despite German banks having faced the fallout of the sub-prime crisis in the US, Mr Steinbrueck said he thought the crisis would not have a large long-term impact on the German economy.
IKB, in particular, was hit by the credit squeeze and needed to receive financial support from other banks.
However, Mr Steinbrueck was confident that the "crossover effect" from the credit crisis would not have a dramatic effect on the German economy.