Royal Bank of Scotland has continued the trend for surging first half profits among the UK's 'big four' banks, with a 23% increase in profit before tax to GBP4.5 billion.

Total income grew 10% to GBP13.6 billion on organic growth, the bank said. However, the bank’s results also reflected the trend in increased provisions for its personal lending division. Impairment losses increased 5% to GBP887 million compared to last year.

The bank said that 46% of its income growth in the first half came from outside the UK, underlining the importance of its international business. The group paid just under GBP1 billion for a 5.16% stake in the Bank of China last year, and said that it has made good progress in working with the bank to provide services such as credit cards and insurance.

Sir Fred Goodwin, group chief executive, said: We have always placed great emphasis on organic income growth, operating efficiency and risk management, and these are again visible hallmarks of the group’s results.

The bank was upbeat on its outlook for the rest of the year and said that the group is well positioned to continue to deliver good organic growth.