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31.05.2011

Bank Austria launches three barrier-free websites on its website

  • Bank Austria is the first bank in Austria to launch three specially designed websites for persons with impaired vision, for deaf persons and persons with learning disabilities
  • The website for listening, the website in sign language and the website in simple German are part of Bank Austria's initiative to assist people with disabilities
  • The websites offer people with special needs easy access to the products and services offered by Bank Austria

Bank Austria gives people with special needs easy access to all information on its products and services with three new websites for persons with impaired vision, for deaf persons and for persons with learning disabilities. This barrier-free service is part of a large-scale initiative to assist persons with disabilities within and outside of the company. Users can access the new websites by clicking the "barrier-free" link next to the button for the English version of the website.

"The website is today a company's business card", says Willibald Cernko, Bank Austria's CEO. "As the first bank in Austria we are offering people with disabilities barrier-free access to the most important information about our company. I personally feel it is very important to provide this access for people with disabilities. This complements our construction initiative for barrier-free branches and it sends another clear message that people with disabilities are very important for us".

Website for listening
In Austria there are about 318,000 people with impaired vision. In order to make life a little easier for persons who are blind or who have impaired vision, Bank Austria has translated the key content of its website into synthetic language to make it available for listening. The website may also help elderly people with limited vision to handle their day-to-day banking business. The website for listening was created in cooperation with the "Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreichs" (Relief Organisation for Austria's Blind and Visually Impaired), and it will be further expanded in the second half of 2011.

Videos in sign language
Austrian sign language (Österreichische Gebärdensprache – ÖGS) is the native language of many deaf people. The structure of sentences and the grammar differ considerably from that of the German language. In order to meet the needs of deaf people, Bank Austria now offers parts of its website in Austrian sign language. All these pages are contained in a separate website. These include information on Bank Austria, on selected sustainable activities, and on banking products, translated into sign language. Also this website will be further expanded.

Website in simple German
Texts in simple German are particularly suited for people with learning disabilities. But the easy-to-read website also offers information on banking and banking products which can be easily understood by Austrians whose native tongue is not German. The texts were prepared by Capito, an expert on preparing information which is difficult to understand, making it a suitable partner for Bank Austria to communicate information which is in some cases quite complex.

In addition to the construction initiative for barrier-free branches, the creation of a bank card for people with impaired vision and the appointment of Erwin Schauer as head Bank Austria's Disability Management, the websites for people with disabilities are a further important step towards creating a barrier-free bank. Helene Jarmer, head of the ServiceCenter Österreichische Gebärdensprache.barrierefrei project, says: "We are delighted that Bank Austria, as the first bank, will now provide information on its products in Austrian sign language. This barrier-free information service acknowledges deaf people as citizens of equal standing and gives them equal opportunities to conduct banking transactions."

Enquiries: Bank Austria Media Relations Austria
 Matthias Raftl, tel. +43 (0) 50505 52809
  e-mail: matthias.raftl@unicreditgroup.at

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