With the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990 and the update to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in 2018, web accessibility should be at the forefront of every business, including financial institutions. Both the American Bankers Association (ABA) and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU) have stressed the importance of ADA compliance for banks and credit unions. Developing an ADA policy for your bank is critical for two reasons: You may lose customers, and you risk legal ramifications.
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You should establish an ADA policy for your physical branches as well as your website. One in four Americans age 18 and older — roughly 61 million adults — live with a disability according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That means 25% of your current and potential customers are disabled. If your website isn’t accessible, these users may become frustrated and feel excluded. If you can’t meet their basic need of being able to navigate your site, how can they trust you with their financial needs?
Without an ADA policy in place, users of your website can sue your bank or credit union for discrimination. Out of the 2,285 web accessibility lawsuits filed in 2018, banks and financial institutions were one of six industries facing the highest rates of litigation. Common areas that affect ADA compliance for banks include navigation (e.g. keyboard accessibility), design (e.g. color usage and contrast), and multimedia (e.g. captioned audio or video).
Don’t risk losing customers or a costly lawsuit by not having an ADA policy for your bank. If you need help achieving ADA compliance for your website, BankSITE’s team is here to help. We provide web design services for banks and an ADA compliance action plan so you can be proactive.
Once you’ve established an ADA policy for your bank and have ensured your website is ADA compliant, you can focus on finding more ways to cater to your disabled customers. The National Disability Institute offers financial institutions various tools to help disabled customers reach financial empowerment.