Today, on the International Day of People with Disability, Commonwealth Bank has launched its Accessibility and Inclusion Plan for 2021- 2023, developed in conjunction with the Australian Network on Disability and a range of industry-leading experts.
The new plan outlines the key improvements that have been made in regards to accessing banking and financial services for people living with a disability, people in remote areas, older Australians, and multicultural communities.
Data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare revealed approximately one in five Australians has a disability. Every day, those living with a disability are using bank branches, apps, websites, and other channels to manage their finances.
The current health pandemic has brought with it an entirely new set of barriers to accessible banking across the country.
For example, many Australians who are blind or have low vision have been unable to access the visual markers many businesses are using to enforce social distancing restrictions.
In response, CommBank worked with Vision Australia to create a new standard, which involved having a concierge meet customers at the branch entrance and direct them around to ensure they could complete their banking safely.
Matt Comyn, Chief Executive Officer at Commonwealth Bank, said: “As Australia’s largest bank, we have an important role to play in ensuring banking services are accessible to everyone. We’ve talked with advocates and not-for-profit organisations and community groups to help us understand the barriers faced when accessing our products and services and how we could do better. This year in particular has shown how important it is to ensure essential services like banking include and support everyone.”
Bruce Maguire, Lead Policy Advisor from Vision Australia who provided the advice for the plan said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has been a very challenging and scary time for many people who are blind or have low vision. We commend the bank for their proactive approach in working with us to ensure customers who are blind or have low vision can not only stay safe when visiting bank branches but also receive the assistance they need to do their banking with independence and dignity.”