Australia's banks are too big for the nation's goodANALYSIS
Bank bashing is something of an Australian national pastime but, far from being driven solely by envy at their success, there are sound economic reasons to think the big four make way too much money.
Australia's major banks delivered combined cash earnings of nearly $15 billion over the first half of their financial year (which ends September 30 for three of the big four).
It is an astonishing performance for four financial institutions that are almost entirely focused on the globally tiny Australasian market (especially now that ANZ has largely ditched its Asian expansion ambitions).
In fact, on 2015 figures compiled by The Banker and released by The Australia Institute, the nation's banks made a total of just over $35 billion that year in pre-tax earnings — the sixth highest in the world, and only just edged out by Canada in fifth.
The other four countries ahead of us were, in order, China, the US, Japan and France — all far more populous countries, with banks that generally have large overseas operations as well.
Australian banks made more money than British ones — and London is the world's true home of international finance.
When bank profits are compared to total economic output, the results are more starkly revealed - Australia is number one.