Call for more staff training to improve bank services

Staff in banks should be given more training in how to deal with customers who have a learning disability, says a report.

Research carried out by the Association for Real Change, a membership body that supports providers of learning disability services, found that some bank workers were uncertain about how to deal with someone with a disability.

At least 500,000 adults with a learning disability in the UK need a bank account.

More than a hundred people with learning disabilities visited over 150 banks across the UK to find out what services and assistance were available to them. Written evidence from over 160 people with a learning disability and their supporters was also included in the study.

Two thirds of researchers reported a good experience but one fifth said their experience had been bad.

The research found that proving identity was the most problematic aspect of opening an account because people with learning disabilities often do not possess standard forms of identity, such as a passport. But, just under half of bank staff surveyed said they would accept a benefit letter or book as proof of identity.

PIN numbers were also difficult for some people to use but many staff failed to mention that chip and signature cards were also available.

The report recommends that training should perhaps be delivered partly by people with learning disabilities and bank staff should be more proactive in advising customers about the availability of chip and signature cards. It also says that low level cash machines and clear signage should be installed and that banks should work with people with learning disabilities to ensure that their information leaflets are accessible and understandable.

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Further information
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Contact the author
Sally Gillen

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