Compared to the same period last year, this was down from a profit before tax of £2.7bn.
The bank said its overall income fell by £167m, or 13.9 per cent, due to lower overdraft fees, lower deposit hedge income and mortgage margin dilution.
NatWest said it saw “strong” growth across gross mortgage lending, which amounted to £16.5bn for the period and a mortgage market share of 14 per cent.
This is up from last year’s gross mortgage lending figure of £14.3bn.
The bank attributed its balance sheet growth since 2019’s year-end to mortgages, primarily to the period pre-Covid-19 in the first quarter of the year.
Some £7.6bn of its £16bn net lending in the first half of the year was due to mortgages and £8.4bn was due to drawdowns against UK government lending initiatives.
Alison Rose (pictured), chief executive officer of NatWest, said: “Our performance in the first half of the year has been significantly impacted by the challenges and uncertainty our economy continues to face as a result of Covid-19.
“However, NatWest Group has a robust capital position, underpinned by a resilient, capital generative and well diversified business.
She added: “Through our strong balance sheet and prudent approach to risk, we are well placed not only to withstand Covid-19 related impacts but also to provide the right support to those who will need it most in the tough times to come.”