Banks profits hit a record high of nearly $7.2-billion dollars last year - 17-percent higher than the year before - despite a slowing economy, rising interest rates, and strong inflation.
Eighty percent of the profits were made by the four big Australian-owned banks.
Higher lending, low bad debts, and increased margins all contributed to the money-making, but global consultants KPMG says banks need the buffer to protect against worsening economic, social and environmental issues which are now inextricably linked.
Business editor Gyles Beckford has been going through KPMG's latest Financial Institutions Performance Survey report on the banking sector.
He spoke to Jane Patterson.