The Chief Executive of AIB has said the overall situation in terms of the bank's customers in mortgage arrears has improved significantly.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, David Duffy said AIB had seen a 6% reduction in average arrears and a 9% reduction in arrears in cases of homeowners.

Mr Duffy said the bank wanted to keep people in their home wherever possible.

He said the bank had made about 80 repossessions but the majority of these were entirely voluntary.

Mr Duffy said AIB now had about 37% of the mortgage-lending market, and that the bank was the lead mortgage lender in the market place.

Meanwhile, AIB has reported a pre-tax profit of €437m for the first half of the year – a significant improvement on the €838m loss incurred in the same period of 2013.

The bank said its total operating income rose by 36% to €1.24bn during the six-month period, while operating expenses fell 9% to €686m.

This reduction comes as part of a cost-cutting operation at the bank, which has seen staffing levels fall by 10% in the past year to just over 11,380.