Banksters are bankers who pursue aggressive risk reward strategies, without professional regard to the potential effects such strategies can have on shareholders and other stakeholders if/when the risks crystallise. The lack of regard can lead to catastrophic outcomes for their institutions and those who trusted them.
Bankster is a derogatory term and is often used to refer to members of the banking industry who use dishonest or fraudulent means to make money. The term is said to have been coined by Leon Degrelle, a right wing journalist, in the 1930s. It is a contraction of the terms gangster and banker and is frequently applied in situations where vulnerable people have been exploited, such as in the US subprime loan scandal that precipitated the 2007/2008 financial crisis.
Bankster is a term that has often been used on FT Alphaville, for example in a April 2012 piece discussing whether the FSA was more interested in justifying its existence than in justice per se. It gained more mainstream attention when The Economist used the term to headline a piece about manipulation of Libor in July 2012 – a development that did not go unnoticed in FT Alphaville.