April 4 2018
There are over 56 million people living with disabilities in the United States, which makes them the biggest minority group in the nation. With the latest technological innovations, one would think that financial accessibility for the disabled would be a resolved matter in this day and age; however, that is not the case.
As reported by the FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, “more than 5 million people with disabilities are currently unbanked or underbanked”. However, the good news is, financial institutions are becoming more and more aware of the reality of the situation, and are doing their best to create long-term business relationships with people with disabilities.
Offering better services for PWDs is a win-win situation
Catering better to the needs of PWDs can be highly beneficial for financial institutions like banks and credit unions. Providing good services to this large segment of the population will not only make them feel respected and taken care of, but will also improve the brand image of the institution.
Bank of America is one such financial institution that recognized this need, and now offers auto loans for PWDs. In essence, the their goal is to facilitate the purchase of an accessible vehicle for those who need it most. Additionally, Bank of America took it one step further, and enabled the applicants to fill out the required forms online. After sending in the application, the individual can expect to receive a reply within a matter of minutes.
Additional insurance products that PWDs could benefit from include Achieving a Better Life Experience, also known as ABLE accounts, which in essence are tax-advantaged savings accounts for PWDs and their family members. In other words, according to ABLE National Research Center, ‘The beneficiary of the account is the account owner, and income earned by the accounts will not be taxed.’ Needless to say, this is a huge financial advantage for PWDs and their loved ones.
The Brand Disability Channel
The Brand Disability Channel is an excellent platform for financial brands where they have the opportunity to showcase their services to people with disabilities. Besides online support, and call-center services, in-branch marketing is a very crucial factor that can greatly contribute to reaching people with disabilities. In other words, when conducting transactions or applying for loans, individuals with a disability will need information in an accessible format. These formats may vary from sign language and voice-output instructions, to brochures and assistance in reading. These additional services make financial transactions much more appealing to anyone with a disability, as the client is able to build their relationship and trust more easily with the institution.
People with disabilities make up such a huge portion of North America’s population, and it is a minority group that should no longer be neglected in terms of financial services. It is of paramount importance that financial institutions improve their services and do their best to meet these individuals’ financial needs. After all, it is a win-win situation, as the customers will feel appreciated, and the financial brand is only set to gain favor in the public’s eye.
Written by Jane Sandwood, a professional freelance writer and editor.