Vince Cable has asked his officials to see if there is enough evidence against Lord Stevenson, the former HBOS chairman, Sir James Crosby, the former chief executive, and Andy Hornby, his successor, to start a formal probe under the Company Directors Disqualification Act.
Mr Cable told The Sunday Times (£) it was the first step in a process which could lead to the three - who have so far not faced formal sanction - being barred from acting as company directors.
He told the newspaper:
It's quite a legalistic process. I can ask (officials) to look at whether the companies investigations branch take action. We do have this power which I have begun to initiate.
A former boss of state-owned bank HBOS has said he will hand back his knighthood and almost a third of his pension after damning criticism.
A parliamentary report published today catalogues the foolish ambition which led to the collapse of the Bank of Scotland and Halifax.