Hearing-impaired and deaf persons have been benefitting from a more inclusive customer experience at Scotiabank, as front-line employees at each branch have all been trained in Sign Language.
Scotiabank says deaf and hard of hearing persons do not always enjoy equal or convenient access to banking services and often need to communicate through a third party, hence the decision to have employees receive sign language training.
An official statement from Scotiabank reports that since 2021, front-line employees across the Bank’s branches have participated in a series of educational training on Finger Spelling, Sign Language Vocabulary, Basic Communication and Banking Communication.
Scotiabank’s Senior VP and Managing Director, Gayle Pazos, notes that to date, just under 50 employees have been certified. She says the Bank remains committed to rolling out continued training for more employees in the near future.
“Providing the best banking services means creating an environment that takes into account and respects the requirements and needs of all our customers. Having employees trained in sign language enables them to communicate more effectively with deaf and hard of hearing customers. It also supports customers’ ability to carry out their banking transactions with complete independence, boosting their confidence and comfort in dealing with the Bank,” Pazos commented.
The Scotiabank top exec added: “We’re proud that 95% of branches have certified employees who aim to provide a more positive, hands-on and inclusive experience for the deaf and hard of hearing community.”
A deaf customer of the San Fernando branch commended Scotiabank’s initiative:
“Now that Scotiabank has sign language as a tool, everyone gets an opportunity to communicate privately without the need for an interpreter. I am happy that my community can now access banking services easier.”
Scotiabank says its employees also appreciate the training they have received.
“Participating in the training has allowed me to have a greater appreciation, basic understanding and means of communicating with members of the deaf and hard of hearing community who visit the branch,” said Akilla Morton, of Scotiabank’s Lowlands Branch. “I have already used what I learnt to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing customers in a simpler and more effective way.”
“This training has helped me provide excellent customer service,” asserts Shebeka Diaz of the Arima branch. “I enjoy seeing the smile on my customers’ faces as I can communicate with them in their preferred way of understanding.”
“I am proud to be a part of a Bank that has adopted such an inclusive initiative, showing care for all members of society,” Diaz added.
World Sign Language Day is observed on September 23.