National Irish Bank has reported a pre-tax loss of €401m for the first half of the year as the bank set aside €391m for impaired loans.

This compares to loan impairment charges of €420m the same time last year.

The bank, which is owned by Danske Bank, said that costs rose by 53% to €74m due to a once off provision for the reorganisation of its retail business which it announced in June.

The bank had said in June that it will cut over 100 jobs and close its network of 27 branches nationwide.

The bank's branches will all be shut by the end of the year and customers will be served through nine 'personal banking centres'.

NIB reported an operating loss of €10m for the six month period, this compares to an operating profit of €20m the same time last year.

The bank's country manager, Terry Browne, said that economic conditions remain challenging, and with property prices continuing to fall, impairment levels remain high. However, they are lower than the same time last year.

''The bank's performance during the first six months of 2012 was in line with expectations,'' he added.

The bank also said that customer deposits fell by 39%, which NIB said reflected unsustainable pricing pressures in the Irish market. It added that the loss of some corporate and institutional deposits in Ireland was ''not unexpected''.

Danske Bank's H1 results beat expectations

NIB's parent bank, Danske Bank Group, today reported a forecast-beating rise in second-quarter pretax profit, but warned that impairment charges would remain high and earnings would stay low this year.

Danske said its pre-tax profits came to €550m for the six month period, up 15% on the €480m reported the same time last year.

But its loan impairment charges rose to €946m from €750m in the first half of 2011.

"These are our best results for a half year since the financial crisis hit in 2008," chief executive Eivind Kolding said. "Even though we are still far from reaching our goals and challenges lie ahead, the trend is positive," he added.