AIB has reported a 12% rise in operating profits during the first half of 2017, as a rise in revenues more than made up for a drop in write-backs and a slight rise in expenses.

The bank had an operating profit of €814m during the first six months of the year, on the back of €1.5 billion in income.

"The performing loans side of our balance sheet has now turned to growth, so we've about a half a billion increase in the performing loan side," said Bernard Byrne, CEO of AIB.

"What we're also seeing is a continued modest improvement in the funding cost associated with that income.

"We've also maintained pretty good cost discipline... so maintaining that with that small growth in income is giving us that improvement performance."

AIB did incur some higher costs in specific areas, however, such as a €24m spend on its ongoing voluntary redundancy programme.

The bank also incurred capital expenditure costs of €42m relating to its recent flotation, but Mr Byrne said this represented good value for money compared to the amount raised from the sale.

"The total cost was about 0.3% of the market cap on listing, so it was €42m but in the context of the €3.4bn raised by Government and the total size of the company on listing I think it's a very competitive cost base relative to other such transactions," he said.

"It gives the Government an initial amount of cash, which is obviously very attractive from their point of view, but it also gives them optionality in terms of the next phase of any sell down."