Last year was challenging for AIB from a financial perspective, according to chairman David Hodgkinson.

At the bank's Annual General Meeting today, Mr Hodgkinson said that, by 2014, 2,500 staff will have left the organisation.

1,700 members of staff have already done so, he said.

Costs have also been reduced through pay and benefit reductions.

Mr Hodgkinson said “unpopular, difficult and challenging changes” have been made in what were the best long-term interests of the customer, shareholder and the Irish economy.

He also said the bank’s strategy is to keep people in their homes.

He said over 80% of AIB mortgages on principle dwelling houses - and approximately 65% of its buy-to-let mortgages - were performing at the end of 2012.

The bank intends to strike arrangements with struggling customers, Mr Hodgkinson, provided they prioritise their mortgage debt.

He said “the scale of the challenge ahead remains significant”.

The chairman also said AIB will meet or exceed Central Bank targets for restructuring distressed mortgages.

AIB, which is more than 99% State owned, said it expects to make a profit in 2014 for the first time since it was bailed out by tax payers at a cost of over €20 billion.

The chairman did not provide a financial update for the group. AIB's results for the first half of the year will be published in August.