Bank employees provide sign language services to customers

Solution
Smart Banking in Sign Language
Organization
Unicredit Bank Austria AG
Country of Implementation
Austria
Region
Europe
Subregion
Western Europe
Start Year
2015
First published
31.01.2018

Since 2015, UniCredit Bank Austria has been offering Austria-wide consultations for customers in the form of sign language via video calls allowing a variety of transactions. Three sales managers are available for consultation in sign language as part of the "online branch" from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. by appointment

A woman in the bank communicating with another woman via webchat using sign language.
The concept allows for a variety of transactions (e.g., investment strategy, real estate financing, loan transactions, pension insurance plans, savings, etc.) to be performed.

Solution details

People

“It is a beautiful experience and is important for me to be able to communicate with my clients in their own language! That is why I learned sign language.” Gabriella Stuhr, SmartBanking Sales Manager, UniCredit Bank Austria

UniCredit Bank Austria, a major Austrian banking group, introduced “Smart Banking in Sign Language” nationwide in 2015. They are the first and only financial institution in Austria to provide advice on banking products in Austrian Sign Language. Initially cooperating with the Service Centre of the Austrian Sign Language Society, UniCredit Bank Austria is now using their own employed sign language interpreters to translate banking service for their deaf and hearing-impaired clients. Three sales managers are available for consultation in sign language as part of the ‘online branch’.

Problems Targeted

About 10,000 people in Austria communicate through sign language. For the deaf or hearing-impaired, sign language is often the only possibility for accessible and comprehensive communication.

Solution, Innovation and Impact

Since 2015, UniCredit Bank Austria has been offering Austria-wide consultations for customers in the form of sign language via video calls. The concept allows for a variety of transactions (e.g., investment strategy, real estate financing, loan transactions, pension insurance plans, savings, etc.) to be performed, and is available from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. by appointment. The key innovative of “Smart Banking in Sign Language” is its availability via webcams, thus making the process independent of going to a physical location, as well as making the self-organization of sign language translation obsolete. Since most deaf or hearing-impaired persons are at ease with the use of such visual communication channels, the barrier to using this service is low. Three sales managers are available for consultation in sign language as part of the ‘online branch’, with one soon to become a state-certified sign language interpreter, allowing consultations with banking experts to be interpreted. UniCredit Bank Austria is making an important step in raising awareness of the needs of deaf people in Austria Due to the bank’s personal data policy, information about the number of users is not publicly available.

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

UniCredit Bank Austria is further developing its accessibility in other aspects of bank activities, starting with fully accessible bank branches, websites, online banking, forms, and information materials. One of the three sales managers working on this project will soon be a state-certified sign language interpreter and will not only be able to advise in sign language, but also interpret consultations with the bank’s experts, such as in real estate and investments, for deaf clients. There are no costs for the customer, neither for the advice in sign language nor for the sign language interpreter. At the start of the project, external sign language interpreters were hired and paid by Bank Austria, whereas now customer support and translations are carried out by the bank’s own staff.

Media

Pictures

A woman in the bank communicating with another woman via webchat using sign language.The concept allows for a variety of transactions (e.g., investment strategy, real estate financing, loan transactions, pension insurance plans, savings, etc.) to be performed.

Videos

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Related information

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Solutions with the same:

Country of Implementation

Austria

Region of Implementation

Europe