Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho, along with solo practitioner Lainey Feingold, represent the California Council for the Blind, other affiliates of the American Council of the Blind, and several individuals with visual impairments in structured negotiations with many of the nation’s largest banking institutions. In the past several years, we have negotiated separate agreements with Bank of America, Bank One/Chase, Citibank, First Union (Wachovia), Washington Mutual (now Chase), and Wells Fargo to guarantee that persons with visual impairments have access to basic banking services that the sighted world takes for granted.
The Washington Mutual agreement requires that the bank install “talking ATMs” that provide audible instructions for completing all essential banking transactions, including withdrawals from, deposits to, and transfers between customers’ checking, savings, and market rate accounts. As a result of the settlement, there are talking ATMs installed at all Washington Mutual (now Chase) branches across the country. The settlement agreement also requires the bank to provide alternative formats (including Braille, Large Print, audio and/or electronic formats) for printed banking materials at no extra cost to the visually impaired consumer, and to make its website comply with Priorities 1 and 2 the World Wide web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 1.0.