As Sign Language Week launches, Nationwide has rolled out a new digital service for Deaf customers by providing its website in British Sign Language (BSL).
Nationwide partners with BSL technology company, Signly, ensuring Deaf customers can access services in their primary language and improve access to financial services.

BSL content consists of pre-recorded signed videos, with the most popular web pages available first. Content will grow over time and users can select any new pages to be translated.

Nationwide’s launch comes as the national charity British Deaf Association is ramping up calls for greater acknowledgement of the needs of Deaf people. They estimate that BSL is the first language of over 87,000 Deaf people in the UK, meaning that written English is inaccessible for many.

Only 6% of banking firms provide on-demand access to website content

With money impacting all aspects of life, providing accessible banking solutions is crucial for ensuring that people maintain financial independence wherever possible. A recent report by self-regulatory banking body, the Lending Standards Board, found that whilst 65% of their registered banking firms offered BSL services in-branch, and 59% offered remote BSL access via video. Only 6% provided on-demand access to website content.

The launch of the service builds on the existing range of accessibility services offered by Nationwide, including SignVideo BSL into contact centres and in-branch BSL interpretation. Nationwide recently announced its participation in the Experian Support Hub scheme, which lets customers record their support needs digitally and share them with multiple companies more easily. As part of this service, there are a range of options for people who are Deaf or have hearing loss, which aim to improve the experience when contacting Nationwide.

Kathryn Townsend, Head of Customer Accessibility at Nationwide said: “British Sign Language is a rich, visual language. The recent BSL Act introduction which legally recognises it as language of England, Scotland and Wales, and the upcoming launch of the BSL GCSE show progress, but there remain barriers. We recognise that for BSL users, accessible communication formats are not always available, so we are proud to launch this new service as part of our commitment to the Deaf community, to improve access to vital financial information. Crucially, we work with Deaf charities and people with lived experiences to help inform what we do.”

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