The state-backed lender's operating profit jumped to £1.5bn from £747m a year earlier, as operating costs fell and impairment charges diminished by almost two-thirds.
Chief executive Ross McEwan, who's been leading the bank's latest overhaul, after it announced a loss of over £8bn last year, commented:
Just over two months ago, I set out our plan for making RBS the most trusted bank in the UK. Today's results show that in steady state, RBS will be a bank that does a great job for customers while delivering good returns for our shareholders.
But we still have a lot of work to do and plenty of issues from the past to reckon with. Everyone at RBS is focused squarely on doing everything we can to earn the trust of our customers and in the process change the banking sector for the benefit of the UK.
But despite the upbeat headline results, income actually fell two per cent compared to a year earlier, to £5.1bn. The bank lost revenue from its now smaller investment unit.
It says it remains on track to deliver its target of £1bn cost reductions this year, but warned that costs are likely to be "considerably higher" for the remainder of the year than the rate implied in the first quarter.
In a separate statement RBS also cnfirmed that Nathan Bostock will setp down as group finance director on 19 May. As previously announced, Ewen Stevenson will join the lender as executive director and chief financial officer.