AIB chief executive Bernard Byrne has said the bank has cut rates on its standard variable mortgages three times in the past ten months. 

He was speaking to RTÉ News before he met Minister for Finance Michael Noonan today to discuss standard variable mortgages rates.

Mr Byrne said that as a result of the cuts, which apply to new and existing customers, the bank's market share had risen by 10%.

AIB's last rate cut was announced last month and will take effect on 1 October. 

The bank's CEO said that AIB was now ready to return capital to the State. 

Mr Byrne said a stock market flotation of the bank was likely next year. However, other forms of capital could be returned to the State this year, he added. 

Today's meeting with Mr Noonan is part of an ongoing process following concerns about comparatively high rates charged for standard variable mortgages.

The issue of high variable mortgages has been highly controversial. Some borrowers on tracker loans are paying less than 1%. However, others on variable rates are paying 4.5%. 

Mr Noonan met the banks on the issue earlier this year and the result has been that some banks, such as AIB, have cut rates.

Others, including Bank of Ireland, have lowered fixed interest loans and advised borrowers to switch.

The minister will meet six banks over the coming two weeks.