By politics.co.uk staff
Unions have demanded an end to the job losses at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), after the bank posted profits of £1.14 billion in the first half of the year.
The results, a marked improvement on the £15 million posted during the same period last year, cap a successful week for the British banking sector, with HSBC, Lloyds and Northern Rock showing strong signs of full recovery.
"The news today that Royal Bank of Scotland has returned to profitability is a testament to the hard work and commitment of the staff across the bank, those in the call centres, processing centres and bank branches who have remained committed to the company," said Stuart Davies, Unite's officer for RBS.
"Their dedication is in direct contrast with the reckless actions of a few that took RBS to the brink of disaster.
"In light of these positive half year profits Unite is calling on RBS to halt the relentless job loss announcements, since the taxpayer stepped in to support the company some 18,000 jobs have been lost. RBS must now provide stability to their workforce who are working so tirelessly to restore the bank to success."
Chief executive Stephen Hester said the banks five year recovery programme was on track but warned of challenges ahead.
The Liberal Democrats urged the bank to use its profit for the good of the nation, given that it is 84% owned by the taxpayer.
Stephen Williams, co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Treasury policy committee, said: "RBS is almost entirely owned by the taxpayer, so these huge profits must be used for the national interest and not just to pay massive bonuses to senior staff.
"There is no excuse for RBS not to loan to good British companies that are struggling to get credit. We cannot simply allow banks to go back to business as usual while viable British firms are suffering."
The bank announced earlier this week it would sell 318 branches to Spanish banking giant Santander.