IN A BID to be a more all-inclusive entity, Scotiabank is facilitating sign language training for its staff to enable them to better interact with and give better service to the bank's differently-abled customers.
The bank said in a release on Friday that it recognises the importance of making banking as easy as possible for all customers including the deaf and hard-of-hearing.
With this in mind, it is working on ensuring front-line employees at each of its branches are trained in sign language.
“Providing the best banking service means creating an environment that takes into account and respects the requirements and needs of all our customers.
"Having employees trained in sign language enables them to communicate more effectively with deaf and hard of hearing customers.
"It also supports customers’ ability to carry out their banking transactions with complete independence, boosting their confidence and comfort in dealing with the bank," said Gayle Pazos – senior VP and managing director of Scotiabank TT.
Since 2021, the release added, front line employees across the bank’s branches have participated in a series of educational training on finger spelling, sign language vocabulary, basic communication and banking communication.
To date, just under 50 employees have been certified and the bank said it remains committed to rolling out continued training for more employees in the near future.
“We’re proud that 95 per cent of branches have certified employees who aim to provide a more positive, hands on and inclusive experience for the deaf and hard of hearing community,” Pazos said.
A deaf customer of the San Fernando branch commented recently, “Now that Scotiabank has sign language as a tool, everyone gets an opportunity to communicate privately without the need for an interpreter. I am happy that my community can now access banking services easier.”
Employees have also provided positive feedback. Akilla Morton of the Lowlands Branch indicated, “Participating in the training has allowed me to have a greater appreciation, basic understanding and means of communicating with members of the deaf and hard of hearing community who visit the branch.
"I have already used what I learnt to communicate with deaf and hard of hearing customers in a simpler and more effective way.”
Shebeka Diaz of the Arima branch said, “This training has helped me provide excellent customer service. I enjoy seeing the smile on my customers’ faces as I can communicate with them in their preferred way of understanding. I am proud to be a part of a bank that has adopted such an inclusive initiative, showing care for all members of society.”