Bank of Ireland has reported an underlying pre-tax profit of €743m for the six months to the end of June, more than double the €327m reported at the same time last year.

The bank was helped to this position by higher net interest income and reduced loan impairment charges.

Gross new lending of €6.5 billion in the period was up 50% on the same period in 2014, while the bank has more than doubled new mortgage lending into the British market to €1.8 billion.

Defaulted loan volumes fell by €1 billion in the first half of the year and are now down by €5 billion - or 27% - since the peak in the middle of 2013.