In a bid to create a more inclusive customer experience, Scotiabank has ensured that frontline employees at each of its branches has received sign language training.
Since 2021, 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 remains committed to rolling out continued training for more employees in the near future.
Gayle Pazos – Senior VP and Managing Director, Scotiabank said the frontline staff at the majority of its branches have been certified.
She said: “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.”
The move has been applauded by customers who use sign language to communicate.
A deaf customer of the San Fernando branch said: “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.”
The feedback from employees has been equally positive.
Akilla Morton of the Lowlands Branch said she now holds a greater appreciation and basic understanding having completed the training. She said she’s able to communicate 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,” she said.
Shebeka Diaz from the Arima branch stated: “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.”
The initiative is a welcome one, with World Sign Language Day observed on September 23. The day serves as a reminder of the unique experiences that deaf and hard of hearing persons live daily, including that they do not always enjoy equal or convenient access to banking services and often need to communicate through a third party.