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Technology makes online banking more accessible

November 11, 2010 9:54:02 AM PST
A Chicago community bank is reaching out to the disabled community by making banking accessible.

According to the U.S. Census, 25 percent of people with disabilities require help paying bills and doing banking. But with a unique voice-to-text online banking system they may not be needing much help.

Bridgeview Bank in Uptown is the first in the United States to install a voice-to-text and text-to-voice online banking system.

"It works by integrating in with Internet Explorer as a simple toolbar and it enables people to use voice guidance to change screen colors to make it easier to see, and it allows them to change font sizes and other aspects of the system so that people can use the system in a way that's most easy for them," said David Fagan, Bridgeview Bank's chief information officer.

"They can use the system to open an account online. They never even have to come into a branch if they don't way to," Fagan said.

Fagan says the system was designed with security in mind.

"All of the traffic that goes across the Internet is encrypted, and the toolbar only installs on the local computer, and it simply assists in navigating through the webpage. No voice is going across the Internet," said Fagan.

Eric Lipp is the executive director of Open Doors Organization and is a person with a disability.

"It's easy to use," said Lipp. "I mean, you have to understand the whole concept of voice recognition, so if you have experience in using that, sure, but like any technology, it's gonna get better and better as time goes on."

With 17 locations, Bridgeview Bank is committed to serve the community, says executive vice president Tom Haleas.

"We strive to put our customers always first, and when we met Prime Access, they had this product that was really amazing," Haleas said.

"I hope that other people follow suit," said Haleas. "and other banks really see the benefits of creating a readily accessible website."

If you want more information about Bridgeview Bank, visit the bank's website, www.bridgeviewbank.com.


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