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.

The amount AIB provisioned for bad loans in the past six months was also down, standing at €92m compared to €744m in the first half of last year.

Earnings from the bank’s domestic operations doubled year-on-year at €622m, according to the accounts, while earnings from its British arm were also higher.

AIB said it had approved €4.6bn worth of credit during the period – a 28% increase on the first half of 2013 – with the bank claiming a 37% share of the mortgage market.

By the end of June, AIB said it had 2.2m personal, business and corporate customers with almost half of those registered for online banking and a quarter banking via mobile.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, AIB chief executive David Duffy said he was confident about the bank's overall capital position.

He said the way the bank was being managed, the evidence of the restructuring it had undertaken and the fall in provisioning for bad loans, together with its levels of capital, suggested AIB was in a strong position to pass the European Central Bank’s stress tests.

"I am confident about our overall capital position,” he said

“You can never be entirely complacent about these things, but we have very strong capital levels.”

Responding to questions about when the Government might sell some of its stake in AIB, Mr Duffy said perspective it was more about whether the bank was stable and well-capitalised bank, and whether it could support the growth of the economy.

He said as a by-product of achieving those objectives, which AIB’s strategy hopes to achieve by next year, would be that a stakeholder like the Government would then be able to monetise its investment if it so wished.

Meanwhile, Mr Duffy said the overall situation in terms of customers in mortgage arrears has improved significantly.

He said the bank 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 homes wherever possible.

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