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CITIBANK PLANS MAJOR UPGRADING OF BANKING SERVICES AND FACILITIES FOR DISABLED CONSUMERS

 CITIBANK PLANS MAJOR UPGRADING OF BANKING SERVICES AND FACILITIES
 FOR DISABLED CONSUMERS
 NEW YORK, Jan. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Citibank announced today that it has begun a multi-million dollar effort to systematically upgrade its services and facilities throughout the United States to better serve disabled consumers.
 The program, which follows the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines that take effect this week, involves changes in facilities to better accommodate both disabled customers and employees, and adapts many Citibank services and products for sight and hearing impaired, learning disabled, and wheelchair-bound individuals. The program will affect Citibank's consumer banking activities in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and the District of Columbia.
 "We're basically looking at every way we currently interact with consumers, and asking ourselves 'How can we provide that same experience to a customer who is disabled?'" said Steve H. Price, division executive and head of strategic program implementation for Citibank nationally. "The changes may not even be noticed by most customers, but our aim is to give consumers who have disabilities the same level of access as anyone else -- and a similar Citibanking experience."
 Price noted that the bank has enlisted the assistance of a number of groups with expertise on disabilities -- including the International Center for the Disabled, Horizons for the Blind, the Manhattan Center for the Independence of the Disabled, and the Center for the Partially Sighted (Santa Monica) -- to help Citibank identify areas where changes could be made, and develop possible solutions. He said that Citibank consumer banking locations around the country will be testing and introducing a wide range of programs for the disabled on a local market basis.
 "In some of our banks, we're already way ahead of the game in terms of wheelchair access to both Citicard Banking Centers and branch locations, and in TDD services (teletype devices for the deaf) for example," Price said. "Also, the extensive capabilities we provide to customers to do banking by telephone -- either in our branches or from their homes -- is a valuable advantage for Citibank."
 The bank has developed lowered-height ATMs that provide for both front and side docking for wheelchair-bound individuals. They feature specially designed screens for privacy during transactions and a lowered shelf for purses, packages, or other materials. Telephones attached to each ATM and drive-up ATM can provide for most transactional banking needs of disabled customers. And enclosed, 24-hour Citicard Banking Center vestibules are designed to provide disabled customers -- and all individuals -- with additional security and safety.
 Pricelocations with identifiable disabled populations, such as Citibank locations near hospitals with outpatient services for the disabled, or near agencies that provide special services for hearing, sight, or physically or learning disabled individuals.
 He pointed out that Citibank has already taken significant steps to provide banking services to disabled consumers in various branch locations nationally, as well as through its credit card business. For example, he noted Citibank, F.S.B.'s use of wheelchair accessible ATMs in California, Illinois, and the District of Columbia and Citiphone Banking kiosks in Florida, Maine, and Maryland; the installation of volume/loudness control telephone handsets at ATMs in the District of Columbia; branch employees trained in sign language for the hearing impaired in parts of New York; and TDD-compatible customer service telephone representatives nationally through CitiPhone Banking and Citibank MasterCard and Visa. Moreover, in 1989, Citibank received an award from the National Easter Seal Society/National Association of Disability Communicators for promoting the bank's special toll-free customer service for the hearing impaired.
 Citibank Program for Disabled Consumers
 Changes involving ATMs and branches:
 -- widening branch and ATM vestibule doorways to accommodate wheelchair access
 -- providing vestibule locks with both buzzers and lights to alert customers that they may enter
 -- reducing the height of at least one ATM per site to accommodate wheelchairs
 -- developing a user friendly, large screen, telephone-aided system to enable mentally/learning disabled and sight-impaired individuals (including the blind) to use Citibank's touch-screen ATMs
 -- providing loudness/volume control telephone handsets to aid the hearing impaired at ATM service telephones
 Changes to services and products:
 -- adding TDD (telecommunications devices for the deaf) for telephone customer service representatives
 -- providing copies of key brochures, customer manuals, and other documents on audiotape for visually disabled customers
 -- making sign language interpreters available for hearing impaired customers for situations such as loan closings
 -0- 1/28/92
 /CONTACT: William J. Ahearn of Citibank, 212-559-0409/ CO: Citibank, N.A. ST: New York IN: FIN SU:


GK-TM -- NY035 -- 4205 01/28/92 11:34 EST
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Date:Jan 28, 1992
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