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Banking: An Easy Website Accessibility Target
Posted August 31, 2016
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The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to demonstrate that it is taking website accessibility seriously. More and more industries have become the target of disability advocacy groups who are actively pursuing businesses and organizations that fail to address issues of digital accessibility. From retail and education to healthcare, travel, and local government, more and more organizations are under pressure to ensure an accessible user experience across their digital platforms. Of particular note, the banking and finance industry has become the subject of countless legal demand letters and, in some cases, lawsuits, requiring that banking institutions implement measures to ensure equal access for all users, regardless of individual ability.
Most complaints about website accessibility point to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The Department of Justice has worked with Congress to issue new regulations in the ADA’s 2nd and 3rd Titles. Title II of the ADA is pursuant to government agencies and contractors, while Title III applies to places of public accommodation, including retailers, banks, and other service providers across varying industries. These new regulations were originally targeted for Spring 2016 but have been pushed back until FY 2018. In part, this was decided to give the industry a more defined guide for industries and IT professionals to become compliant. The new regulations are expected to outline that all “places of public accommodation” must make their websites accessible to people with disabilities, regardless of whether or not the business has a physical building open to the public. This is a position previously demonstrated in the DOJ’s settlement agreement with the online grocery delivery service, Peapod.
The Banking Industry
Banking institutions are not exempt from the DOJ’s scrutiny on the subject of website accessibility. Already, banking and financial institutions, such as E*Trade and H&R Block have entered agreements after complaints about the publication of inaccessible websites for people with disabilities. In 2014, 12 banks entered into settlement agreements with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to improve accessibility and make their websites accessible for people with disabilities.
In addition to the lawsuits and settlement agreements of the recent past, there has also been a consistent outpouring of demand letters from the plaintiff’s crying foul on banking institutions who have neglected to incorporate accessibility into their banking websites and platforms. Most recently, a wave of bank-related legal demand letters has been served to scores of banks of all sizes.
For many, Online Banking is becoming the primary method for managing personal and business finances. According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 51% of United States adults bank online and 32% use mobile banking apps. Banking online allows customers to have access to checking, savings, credit accounts, and most banks offer online bill pay and money transfer services.
When banks offer their services online they are reaching a broader audience through their website, but they can also be inaccessible to their customers. If a bank’s website is not coded properly, it could contain barriers to people with disabilities, leaving them unable to get access to their banking needs online, essentially isolating certain customers, which can lead to a lawsuit as a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
How AudioEye Can Help
At AudioEye, we specialize in fixing this problem. We break down the barriers to make websites accessible through the integration of our proprietary technology. We are here to help by building and retrofitting accessibility into existing website infrastructures and quickly conforming websites to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, by conforming to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0.
We will work with you to test your website for issues of accessibility, conform your website with industry best practices and standards by fixing and validating issues, and maintain your website's compliance with WCAG 2.0 AA in order to ensure all customers have access to their banking needs.
Already, from Mutual of Omaha Bank to scores of small local banks and credit unions, AudioEye’s solution is trusted by institutions, large and small.
Contact us, today, for a free web accessibility analysis.
Duane Morris, August 19, 2016
Banks the Latest Targets in Website Accessibility Claims
Morgan Lewis, December 7, 2015
DOJ Delays ADA regulations for the Accessibility of Private Websites to 2018
Pew Research Center, August 7, 2013
51% of U.S. Adults Bank Online [PDF]
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