SmartBanking in sign language brings barrier-free advice to all living rooms

  • As a pioneer of barrier-free services, Bank Austria now offers personal advice through video calls for hearing impaired customers based on its SmartBanking service model
  • Interpreters of the ÖGS.barrierefrei service centre translate the consultations simultaneously into sign language
  • No barriers to using any Bank Austria service from your home, via tablet, smart-phone or laptop
  • SmartBanking consultation times for hearing impaired customers: Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm

Bank Austria’s new SmartBanking service model offers personal advice for everyday banking transactions to all customers wishing to use this service, through video calls, telephone calls, texts, online and MobileBanking as well as the entire branch network of Bank Austria. This comprehensive range of services is now available for hearing impaired customers too. Certified ÖGS interpreters from RelayService translate the content of the consultations.

Willibald Cernko, CEO of Bank Austria: "As the leading Austrian bank we see it not just as our social responsibility but also as a corporate necessity to make our products and services accessible for all customers. As a pioneer in barrier-free services in the banking sector we constantly expand what we offer. Having SmartBanking in sign language means that a much wider group of customers can take advantage of our SmartBanking services."

Translation into sign language by pros
The ÖGS.barrierefrei service centre and Bank Austria have come together to offer barrier-free advice for hearing impaired people. The RelayService is an ÖGS telephone exchange which uses sign language interpreters to enable hearing impaired people to communicate with advisers who can hear. This service is now applied for communication between SmartBanking employees and hearing impaired customers to break down communication barriers and enhance the quality of service for this target group.

Bank Austria as pioneer for barrier-free access
Alongside the new online services for hearing impaired customers, Bank Austria is the first bank in Austria to offer advice in selected branches by employees who are specially trained in sign language. This commitment fits in seamlessly with Bank Austria’s extensive efforts to become as barrier-free as possible for its customers. In the shape of Erwin Schauer Bank Austria also has its own Disability Manager, who together with his team is dedicated to driving forward with the implementation of barrier-free initiatives.

"Bank Austria set itself the goal five years ago of focusing closely on the huge potential offered by people with disabilities, and living up to its social responsibility. With more than 400 employees living with disabilities I am proud today that we have fulfilled the statutory quota since 2013, and are one of the companies in the 22 percent of Austrian firms to do so. Almost 90 percent of our branches are already fully accessible and by means of video calls, sign language videos and the read-aloud functions on our website we are able to provide the same comprehensive advice to our customers with disabilities as we do to all our other customers. SmartBanking in sign language is therefore another important building block in our overall strategy for people with disabilities", emphasised Willibald Cernko in conclusion.

You will find further information about SmartBanking in sign language for hearing impaired customers at:

UniCredit Bank Austria Media Relations
Volker Moser, Tel.: +43 (0) 5 05 05-52854;
E-mail: volker.moser@unicreditgroup.at