May 25, 2017
Over the past decade or so there have been numerous reports from different banks who have been shutting down some of their branches although with Nationwide, they're taking the opposite approach and are looking to expand. The question is, is it going to work out for them?
Nationwide recently announced that over the next few months they will be opening more branches across the UK.
In the last year, over 1,000 banking locations closed in the UK and so Nationwide's approach has risen some eyebrows.
According to banks, such as the Bank of Scotland, who have been shutting down several branches each month, stated that their reason for shutting down branches is that there is no need for them anymore as more and more customers are switching over to using their online banking services.
Against the tide
Nationwide have stated that they're going to continue investing their time, money, and effort into opening more branches and will be starting with their new location in Glastonbury which is set to open on the 25th of April.
Considering that both Lloyds and Barclays have recently closed down their branches in Glastonbury and that there are only cash lines and a post office, this is a bold move on Nationwide's behalf.
Nationwide have said that if this expansion is a success, then they will definitely look into opening new branches in places where big banks have left.
The Distribution Director of Nationwide, Graeme Hughes, stated, "Having several options available for your financial needs is a necessity. We are committed to growing our brand and are looking into investing over £500 million over the next five years solely on our growth."
The only other big bank who are investing their money into growing their brand is Metro Bank, although they are a bank who are mostly found in South-East England.
The Importance of Online Banking
Online banking is on the rise and with more and more banks closing down, any bank customers who don't take advantage of online banking services may fall behind.
Recent studies have shown that banking users who aren't signed up for online banking are up to 5 times more likely to miss a bill payment than those who are signed up for online banking and who take advantage of what it has to offer. On top of this, 1-in-20 online banking users have reported that they frequently miss a payment while 1-in-5 telephone banking users reported that they frequently miss due payments.
Because of this, it's more likely that the older generations will run into problems with their financial needs if they aren't using online banking.
The Director of Consumer Strategy for Momentum UK, Dominic Baliszewski, told us, "Cooperation from the government is necessary if we want all generations to use online banking services. Whether it's through a third-party learning service or by providing an educational course, it needs to happen."
Banks on the High Street
Nationwide have conducted research and found that the majority of people support the fact that high street banks should be kept open.
Whether or not Nationwide continues to expand depends on whether this new branch is successful or not, although Nationwide seem fairly confident that this new branch is going to be a success.
Ahead of this new branch opening up in Glastonbury, there have been almost 20,000 new banking accounts opened with the new branch being set as their default location.
The Mayor of Glastonbury, Jon Cousins, told us, "When banks begun to move away from Glastonbury there were a lot of locals openly frustrating about this. It's fantastic that one bank, Nationwide, has realised this frustration are looking into bringing some form of financial support to the area."
Will Nationwide's Expansion Be Enough?
Although Nationwide are looking into these expansions, there are still some holes in the services which they have to offer. One of the biggest holes is that Nationwide lacks support for business banking and so any local businesses must continue taking to the Post Office for their financial services.