NATIONWIDE'S boss urged customers to seek help from the building society if they are struggling with the rising costs of living.

The Swindon-based business' profits soared during the last 12 months and the extra cash will be invested back into what the mutual model can offer its members, such as potentially improving rates or investing in service propositions and tech.

Nationwide's underlying profits more-than-doubled from £790m in April 2021 to £1,604m in April 2022 while statutory profit increased to £1,597m compared to £853m last year.

This was due to high demand for demand for mortgages, savings and current accounts, and the wider market bouncing back faster than expected.

But after weathering the perfect storm of problems caused by Covid and expecting to face a steadier and brighter future, the building society's bosses are now focused on helping members who are finding it hard to pay the bills due to high inflation.

Pandemic-related issues such as mass furloughing of workers often required one solution for everyone, but the cost of living crisis is affecting people differently depending on their individual situations, so the support needs to be similarly precise.

Chief executive Joe Garner said: “We have been gearing up for this for a long time because we all thought Brexit might trigger that need and then thought Covid might – it’s definitely going to be happening now and we stand ready to support our members.

"The cost of living crisis seems to be impacting everyone, with inflation eroding the savings of some, but we are particularly concerned for those households whose finances are already stretched.

“We haven’t seen significantly more people fall into financial difficulty but we have observed that those who were already struggling are finding it even more tough.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we can tackle challenges better by working together rather than on our own.

“I would appeal to any member who is struggling to speak to Nationwide sooner rather than later."We kept our branches on the High Street, we have colleagues on the end of the phone line and online who are skilled at offering the support needed to help members through periods of financial stress."

Mr Garner suggested that this successful financial year for the business gives execs more options to possibly improve rates, or invest in service propositions and technology.

He added: “Healthy profits at Nationwide are exclusively in the interest of our members. This will stand the society in good stead against the backdrop of an uncertain future.

"You want a financially robust mutual sector that’s able to challenge the big banks in their traditional heartland, I hope people will see that as a strength.”

Other newly-released figures revealed that deposits at Nationwide grew by £7.7bn, net interest income rose from £3,142m in 2021 to £3,562m in 2022, and member financial benefit increased by 23 per cent to £325m.

Staff helped 87,000 first time buyers into homes by offering 95 per cent mortgages and larger loans.