The group blames the losses on credit market write-downs of £5.9bn.
RBS group chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin, says: “It has been a chastening experience and reporting a pre-tax loss of £691 million is something I and my colleagues regret very much.”
Although this is reported to be the second biggest loss any UK bank has had in history, the figure of £691m was still below some forecasts.
The bank also reports net mortgage lending market share has increased in the UK to 17 per cent from less than two per cent in 2007. It also says the much-publicised ABN AMRO integration is ahead of plan.
Goodwin adds: “The first half of 2008 has been as difficult an operating environment as we have encountered for some time, presenting both general and specific challenges to RBS.
“The results we have published today demonstrate progress in a number of important areas, and it is all the more unsatisfactory, therefore, that they record a loss as a result of our credit market write-downs.
“We are determined to ensure that the inherent strengths of the Group’s diverse business model are not obscured in this way again.”