Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Bank customers who are deaf to be offered sign-language interpretation

Ulster Bank has announced it is set to become the first Northern Irish bank to offer sign language interpretation to customers who are deaf.

A video-link accessed through a smart phone or tablet will allow customers to receive the help of a sign language interpreter while carrying out their financial transactions. 

Around 300,000 people in Northern Ireland suffer from some form of hearing loss - which works out at around one in six of the total population.

The video-link works using the SignVideo plug-in or app, which provides a British Sign Language interpreter through a secure video call on a tablet or smartphone.

SignVideo operates from Monday to Friday, from 8am to 6pm and is available through most Android and iOS devices.

On the move, Sean Murphy, managing director of personal banking at Ulster Bank, said: "We believe that this will provide meaningful help for our deaf customers, and we’re proud to respond to their needs.

"Through initiatives like this, as well as Dementia Friendly accreditation for over 100 staff, and a Community Banker for face-to-face rural banking needs, we’re building and improving services in a way that really matters for our customers, and how they now choose to do their banking."

Roisin McGonagle, digital skills officer at Action on Hearing Loss, said: "Equal access to information on financial matters, and all other aspects of daily life, is vital for people who use sign language as their first language. Service providers can book registered sign language interpreters to assist in meetings with customers through Action on Hearing Loss."

Over the past years a number of steps have been taken by banks in the UK to improve accessibility for customers with disabilities.

Ulster Bank also offer services for customers with mobility issues, customers who have experienced sight loss, and customers with dexterity issues.

Steps that have been taken include making more ATMs wheelchair accessible, and providing large-sized cheque books.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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