Expatica news

Banks ‘should do more for disabled’

8 February 2005

BRUSSELS – A disabled rights organisation is calling on Belgium’s banks to improve access to cash machines.

The National Association for Accommodation for the Disabled says it’s currently extremely difficult for people in wheelchairs and for those who are partially sighted to use Belgian ATMs.

“As soon as a cash machine is installed inside a closed branch of a bank, the possibilities of access are reduced,” said the association in a statement.

Disabled people face difficulties arriving at banks because of badly adapted pavements and steps and the poor design of after-hour banking facilities aggravates their difficulties.

“In order to open the door, you have to insert your card in the opening system, which is installed at a good height for non-disabled people, but in the majority of cases it’s at a height totally out of reach for a person in a wheelchair,” explained the association.

‘Self bank’ terminals inside banks were also sometimes placed too high for wheelchair users.

Many banking machines have no braille facilities for the blind.

The association wants to see the banking industry take action to address the situation by 2007, the date when banks have been asked to make cash machine facilities better for all customers.

“The solutions are there, advice offices and expertise is there,” insisted the association.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news