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Business

Ulster Bank ‘signs on' with new service for deaf customers

Announcing the new service are (from left) Roisin McGonagle, digital skills officer, Action on Hearing Loss; Karen Dixon, Ulster Bank branch manager; Jason McBurney, personal banker, Ulster Bank and John Mulhern, also branch manager with Ulster Bank

ULSTER Bank has become the first bank in Northern Ireland to offer a dedicated sign language interpreted banking service for deaf customers.

The new feature, available to support telephone and branch banking, makes it possible for a customer to communicate with people in the bank with the help of a video-link to an interpreter.

After downloading the SignVideo plug-in or app, deaf British Sign Language customers will be able to communicate with an advisor using their computer, tablet or smartphone via a secure video call.

This call provides them with the services of a British Sign Language interpreter, who acts as a third-party to facilitate real-time conversations between the customer and the Ulster Bank contact centre, or a member of staff during a branch appointment.

There are approximately 300,000 people in Northern Ireland who are deaf or who have some form of hearing loss – one in six of the population.

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: “We're pleased Ulster Bank has taken this step towards making their services more accessible to sign language users.

"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.”

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