Leading world bankers at the annual World Economic Forum beano closed ranks today in the face of outside demands to regulate their industry.
Bankers have been widely and accurately blamed for the financial crisis that has damaged economies across the world.
But JP Morgan chairman Jamie Dimon insisted: "We're doing the right thing."
He insisted that "there will be a financial services sector" whether critics liked it or not.
Mr Dimon said the world needs banks so that people can get on with their everyday lives.
He was recently forced to take a 50 per cent cut in his pay - to £7.25 million - after JP Morgan lost billions in a debt gamble.
Mr Dimon claimed that governments couldn't function without banks.
JP Morgan and nine others agreed earlier this month to cough up £5.4 billion to settle US charges that they had wrongfully foreclosed on struggling homeowners.
Former central banker and current UBS chairman Axel Weber acknowledged the "excesses" of the past but said it was pointless to debate breaking up banks.
"Where does the financial sector start or stop?" he asked. "It's so intricately linked we shouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater … We all provide valuable social functions."
UBS agreed in December to pay £950m to regulators for manipulating the Libor interbank lending rate.
The banking bosses were in Davos, Switzerland, at the annual invitation-only gathering of more than 2,500 corporate big shots.
The forum has been accused of clinging to a capitalist model that has sparked waves of financial meltdowns.
At the event in the posh Alpine resort, business elites party in luxury hotels to make deals and debate the world's problems.
But many pin them with the ultimate responsibility.
Even IMF deputy managing director Min Zhu questioned the bankers' assertion that the financial sector is doing fine.
"The financial sector is too big," he said. "The products are too complicated. Transparency is not there."
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