Stephen Hester, RBS Group chief executive, said the Royal Bank of Scotland is "having to work very hard to stand still", adding, "We aspire to achieve much more".
Mr Hester said in the bank's interim management statement:
The extraordinary challenges which RBS faced following the financial crisis are being worked through successfully.
Beneath these headlines our people have been working hard at supporting our customers and rebuilding the capabilities of the core business, the future RBS that is emerging from our work.
In doing this we face the same strong economic and regulatory challenges as other banks and are having to work very hard to stand still in the face of these challenges.
We aspire to achieve much more; in short, to be running a really good RBS.