The party continues. When FirstRand CE0 Paul Harris presented his group's interim results earlier this year, he said: "Consumers are having a ball."
They are buying new cars, spending freely on credit cards and purchasing property. The amount outstanding on credit cards has risen by 40% in the year to January, mortgages by 30% and car sales hit record 25% growth in 2005.
Retail banks have benefited from the consumer boom, profits rising by up to 20%. Bad debts are at low levels and there are no signs of consumers letting up on their spending spree. Even the banks, which are usually "cautiously optimistic", say they expect the good times to continue.
Each of the big four banks has different strategies in place.
Absa has been integrating with Barclays since the British bank bought part of it last year. Barclays has moved fast to introduce its ways into the SA bank with some of the more significant changes being made to Absa Corporate & Investment Bank, now called Absa Capital. It was a weak spot identified within Absa and one in which Barclays can exercise its expertise.
Another area being focused on is the card division. The Barclaycard methods are being introduced to compete in an already very competitive area, with even more entrants expected, including Virgin, with which Absa has formed a joint venture.
Barclays is also concentrating on improving business banking and introducing its wealth products to Absa Private Bank.
Absa is planning to buy Barclays' African operations once all authorities involved have approved a deal.
Standard Bank's strategy has changed somewhat over the past year or so and its businesses have been streamlined into retail and wholesale banking, with Africa and international now falling under those two groupings instead of being separate divisions.
"It was part of a process to align the international and Africa divisions more closely with SA," CEO Jacko Maree says.
Standard Bank is now looking to open retail banks beyond Africa and said last year that it was leading a consortium to buy Bank of America's BankBoston branch in Argentina, one of the 10 largest banks in the country. It is also expanding its wholesale banking operations and has announced that it is buying Dutch-based financial services group ING's Argentine operation. It was granted a branch licence in Dubai in January and may be looking at opportunities in other emerging markets, like Turkey and Russia.
Standard Bank is clearly looking outside SA for growth and if it does it properly, could emulate the likes of SABMiller.
FirstRand, on the other hand, is concentrating on SA. It has told the market that it will look at international opportunities by business unit.
One of the biggest changes to FirstRand's structure was the departure of founder Laurie Dippenaar as CE and the appointment of Sizwe Nxasana to take Harris's place as FirstRand Bank CE. Though he began officially only at the beginning of the year, it is said his influence is already strongly felt.
The group's largest profit contributor is First National Bank (FNB) and it, too, is concentrating on differentiating itself. It has chosen to introduce some investment banking practices into retail banking in an effort to do things better and in a more innovative way. For example, its wealth segment, which focuses on high net worth individuals, uses structured finance methods to structure clients' assets and liabilities.
FNB has come up with innovations such as the One Account which combines a cheque account, credit card and home loan. It has also introduced a reward programme called eBucks, in which customers earn about R20m worth of eBucks a month.
Its Million a Month account, where customers can win R1m each month, has attracted 237 000 customers over the year.
It has also introduced a "segment-driven" structure as opposed to a "product-driven" one - concentrating on what customers in different segments want rather than designing products first and then trying to sell them to customers.
Nedbank is the one bank that has not benefited as greatly from the consumer boom. It has been in a three-year recovery phase after receiving a R5bn capital injection in 2003.
CE Tom Boardman has methodically planned the recovery and has introduced a new team to focus on strengthening Nedbank and making it competitive. Its focus has been internal but, more recently, it has said that it is looking outside the bank and concentrating on customers.
However, Nedbank has lost market share and has some way to go before it manages to regain what it has lost.
Though banks are expected to continue their winning ways, not everything is positive. They have been criticised for high fees but have done little apart from cosmetic changes to appease angry consumers and the authorities.
The competition commission asked researcher Penny Hawkins to look at the National Payments System and a recent report highlighted her findings. The next step will almost certainly be an investigation into perceived high bank charges with the result probably being a lowering of these fees.
The introduction of the National Credit Act next year will also have a significant effect on banks and the way they do business.
It will mostly affect banks' collection and credit processes, with its main aim being to protect the consumer by encouraging banks to take a more responsible approach to lending.
Though initially it was meant to curtail the methods of the more unscrupulous, unregulated microlenders, its ambit was broadened to include all lenders, including retailers, and will enforce greater transparency in lending practices.
Government and the regulators will be keen to ensure that the banks do not suffer so much as to create systemic risk in the banking system as a whole.