Project financiers often influence not only the standards against which a project is managed, but also whether the project goes ahead at all. Non-government organizations (NGOs) are acutely aware of the leverage that project financiers possess. In today’s media-driven world, banks are especially sensitive to public opinion and bad press. Perception and reputation are important. In Australia, we have seen this play out with several of the world’s biggest financiers refusing to fund projects which might impact the Great Barrier Reef. In this paper, I explore some of those decisions and the influence of NGOs on the project finance industry. My aim is to better understand the context in which certain financial decisions are made, including who wields influence and how such influence is brought to bear. What seems apparent is that while financiers are powerful gatekeepers of major projects, their influence appears closely connected to that of civil society.