Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein said on Thursday that the global credit crisis is in its latter stages probably approaching an end.

We're closer to the end than the beginning, Blankfein told investors at the investment bank's annual shareholder meeting in New York, according to Reuters.

Comparing the crisis to an American football game, he said the troubles were in the third or fourth quarter. However he would not commit to saying how long the crisis would last.

Goldman has been one of the few major Wall Street firms to avoid writedowns related to bad investments in subprime mortgage lending, correctly predicting the housing downturn.

Its stock price has not been completely absolved however. Shares of Goldman have steadily declined from a peak of $250.70 last year to $170.17 today in late trading.

The bank's profit in its latest quarter was significantly lower compared to the same period a year ago. It reported a profit of $1.47 billion for its first fiscal quarter on March 18, down from $3.2 billion. Revenue fell to $8.3 billion from $12.7 billion.