British bank Nationwide saw profits soar over the course of the year in what the company's chief executive described as "one of the strongest sets of results we have ever reported" as he also announced he will be retiring.

Pretax profits for the UK's second largest mortgage lender were up by 51% to £1bn from the £677m last year.

Net interest from investments and customers saving deposits jump by £458m to £2.9bn.

The bank said growth is expected to calm down in the future in line with the performance of house price growth, which is expected to ease.

Chief executive Graham Beale, who announced he would be retiring next year after 12 years with the company, said: "Today we have announced one of the strongest sets of results we have ever reported, demonstrating that, yet again, it is possible to be successful by doing the right thing.

"We have reached a level of profitability that will allow us to invest in the Society to improve our members' experience, encourage growth in our membership and at the same time comfortably meet prudential requirements.

"Nationwide is in great shape and is demonstrating how a mutual building society can make a real and refreshing difference in the financial services sector. Succession of leadership is best dealt with from a position of strength and hence the time has come for the Society to identify and appoint its next chief executive."