The UK's big five banks unveiled combined profits of £33.4 billion last year - a figure which has fuelled outrage among consumer groups.
The profits are equivalent to more than £1,000 a second and are higher than the annual GDP of countries including Kuwait, Bangladesh, Morocco and Luxembourg.
HSBC, the last of the big five to report, notched the biggest haul by a UK-based bank when revealing annual profits of £11.91 billion today.
And with NatWest owner Royal Bank of Scotland posting profits of £7.94 billion, Barclays at £5.28 billion, HBOS £4.8 billion and Lloyds £3.47 billion, there is plenty to irk consumers who feel over-charged and exploited while calls for a windfall tax continue.
However, banks have been quick to defend criticism by pointing out the majority of profits were earned away from the high street in corporate banking and with international clients.
HSBC does just one-fifth of its business in the UK while Barclays said that although its UK market remained its most important, overseas business may account for 50 per cent of its profits in three years' time. This year it represented 40 per cent of profits.
In addition, RBS has expanded by acquiring Charter One in the United States and leading a group of investors in the purchase of a stake in Bank of China - the second largest bank in the Asian country.
Eddy Weatherill, of the Independent Banking Advisory Service, said HSBC's profits underlined why Chancellor Gordon Brown should use this month's budget to slap sanctions on the banking sector via a windfall tax.
The slide of consumers into the red was directly linked to the lending spree by banks in recent years, which was visible in the higher provisions for bad debts, he said.
But he remained pessimistic about the possibility of Mr Brown acting.
"The Government has resisted every opportunity to tax the industry so we can assume it is not going to happen," he said.
Mr Weatherill warned of problems ahead as banks see the results of "irresponsible lending" hitting their bottom line, visible in the higher provisions for bad debts.
"Banks are saying they are going to be tougher on who they lend to but this is like closing the stable door after the horse has bolted," he said.
Consumers are starting to move away from banks they are dissatisfied with, Mr Weatherill said.
"Younger people do no have the same sense of allegiance as their parents or grandparents and they can see they can easily change to a bank that serves them better," he said.
"There has been a plundering of the consumer by banks," he added. "The industry is under-policed with no real control."
New Economics Foundation, a think-tank, accused profit-hungry banks of abandoning the poorest Britons to loan sharks.
It found that around 11 per cent of UK adults still do not have access to bank accounts and called for greater regulation in the form of a Universal Service Obligation so that banks would agree to serve everyone - regardless of the potential for profit.
Such a commitment is already in place in telecoms, utilities and the post office.