Nationwide Building Society has announced plans to open new branches over the coming months.

The openings come at a time when many of Nationwide's rivals are shuttering branches at alarming rates. 

In fact, a total of 1,000 branches have disappeared in the last year alone.

The banks say it's part of a changing trend, as more customers switch to online services.

Bucking the trend

Nationwide claims it will continue to invest in branches, and will be opening a new branch in Glastonbury, Somerset, tomorrow (April 25).

The location is signifacnt, as HSBC Barclays and Lloyds have all closed branches there, meaning cash machines and the Post Office are the only banking services currently available.

Depending on the success of the Glastonbury branch, Nationwide says it will look to build in other areas that have been abandoned by the banking giants.

Graeme Hughes, distribution director at Nationwide, said: "We know how important having a range of ways to do business with your financial services provider is.

"Our commitment to our branch network has never been stronger and we will continue to invest £500 million over a five-year period."

Metro Bank is the only other bank investing in opening branches, but they’re largely concentrated in the South East of England.

Bring back high street banks!

Research from Nationwide shows a great deal of support for keeping banks on the high street.

Plans to open more Nationwide branches rests on the success of the pilot, but it looks promising.

Over 18,000 accounts have already been opened by locals ahead of the branch opening.

Jon Cousins, Glastonbury Mayor, said: “The town was deeply frustrated when we lost our financial providers last year so it has been exciting working closely with Nationwide to help them to open a community branch on the high street."

[Read more: Hundreds of Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland branches face closure]

Don’t bank online? You might fall behind

People who rely on traditional interactions with their bank are more likely to fall behind on their bill payment.

Figures from financial services firm Momentum UK show that people who bank by phone are five times more likely to miss a final bill payment than those who bank online.

What's more, one in 20 who bank using an app reported ‘often’ or ‘always’ missing the minimum repayments on credit cards, loans and other credit agreements, this figure rose to one in five (18%) among telephone bankers.

So people who don’t bank online, often older people, may run into financial difficulties.  

Dominic Baliszewski, director of consumer strategy for Momentum UK, said:

“There needs to be a concerted effort from the Government and from financial institutions to help people manage their finances digitally, be it through education, helping people get online or other third-party assistance.

“Financial institutions also have an obligation to ensure that they’re not only offering the best possible service, but that people can manage their money wherever and however they want.”

Is it enough?

Having said all of this, Nationwide does fall short in certain areas. For example, it doesn’t provide business banking so local traders will still have to use services at the Post Office.