KBC Bank Ireland said it has continued to reduce its stock of impaired loans as it reported that net profit for the first six months of the year nearly doubled to €173.1m after tax and impairments, when compared with the first half of 2016 (€99.4m).

The lender's stock of impaired loans fell by 16% to €5.1 billion over the period, while it said its tracker mortgage review is ongoing.

KBC Bank Ireland CEO Wim Verbraeken said the bank has reached out to customers "who were not one the right rate" to address the situation.

The number of mortgage cases in arrears at the bank has fallen by 18%.

New mortgage lending rose by 29% to €333m.

The Belgian-owned lender added 33,000 new customers in Ireland between January and June, bringing its total number here to more than 250,000.

The KBC Group is investing €1.5 billion in a digital transformation between now and 2020, and 60% of current accounts in H1 were opened via digital channels.

Mr Verbraeken said he was pleased "to report strong organic growth and continued profitability across all areas of KBC’s business, underscoring our position as Ireland’s leading digital bank with products and services that enable customers to bank in a new way, for a new era".