UK high street banks are “hectic and daunting” for disabled customers, according to research.
Undercover visits to nine of the top British banking names revealed that just two of them had Easy Read literature available for people with learning disabilities, while only three could issue statements and other letters on coloured paper or with overlays.
Lloyds Bank and Santander customer Will Peace, who has Asperger syndrome, dyspraxia and mobility difficulties, can find the layout of bank branches confusing and the sheer amount of products difficult to fully understand.
He says the current inconsistency of adjustments between banks is far from ideal: “I find it really annoying. It is one of the things you don’t find out until you actually use the products.”
The worst performer in the research was Metro Bank, which despite its modern appearance lacked many of the features its competitors had. Barclays came out on top with a suite of adjustments designed to make banking easier, such as on-demand British Sign Language interpretation and care indicators, which discreetly inform branch and call centre staff of a customer’s “invisible” needs.
Sue Bott, head of policy and research at Disability Rights UK, said: “I find it very disappointing that major banks are still not taking [seriously] their legal obligations under the 2010 Equality Act to provide access to their services to disabled people. They can and must do better.
“The 13.9 million Disabled people will know what to do when they choose who to bank with.”
Metro Bank said: “We are committed to supporting the needs of all our customers, including individuals who may be experiencing vulnerable circumstances such as those who have a disability.
“We equip all our colleagues with tools and training to identify and support these customers, and we also continue to work together with the wider industry and UK Finance to continuously review and look at ways to further support customers with vulnerabilities.”