The bank, 70 per cent of which is owned by the taxpayer, said that the results had been affected by bad debts totaling $12.5 billion.
Its core bank operations - which exclude assets that it is planning to sell or wind down - saw profit rise to $10.5 billion, however non-core business recorded a loss of $16 billion.
Group chief executive Stephen Hester warned that RBS remains "cautious", despite some commentators predicting that an economic recovery may soon take place.
He said that the financial institution will "continue to plan and manage our business in the full expectation that both 2009 and 2010 will be very tough years for RBS".
The bank also announced the appointment of a new finance director, recruiting Bruce Van Saun, formerly of Bank of New York Mellon.
Earlier in the year, RBS revealed a first-quarter pre-tax loss of $73 million.