Aligned with its strategic commitment to creating a brighter community, BBK, Bahrain’s pioneer in retail and commercial banking, has launched the first ATM in the Kingdom of Bahrain designed specifically with the needs of the blind and partially-sighted in mind.
The specially-equipped ATM was unveiled at a ceremony held on February 24, 2014 at BBK’s Isa Town Financial Mall, where it has been installed. The ceremony was attended by BBK’s Chief Executive, Mr. Abdulkrim Bucheery, CBB representatives and members of BBK’s Executive Management. Representatives from The Saudi-Bahraini Institute for the Blind and The Friendship Society for the Blind were also present as they are the concerned entities who actively support the visually impaired community in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
In a first for Bahrain, this specially customized ATM allows the visually impaired to interact with it through voice guidance. The ATM switches to voice-guided mode when the customer inserts his or her personal headset into the machine. The ATM keypad features embedded Braille buttons which allow the customer to respond to the voice guidance and then select from the banking options provided. The customer can then complete the transaction in a convenient and private manner.
This pioneering initiative is another milestone for the special needs community in the Kingdom of Bahrain, many of whom will now have much easier access to BBK’s banking services than has been possible until now. Statistics from Bahrain’s Ministry of Social Development indicate that there are around 7,000 people with disabilities in Bahrain, and the Bank believes it can offer them a better banking experience through the use of new technologies.
This initiative is another element within a wide-ranging commitment by BBK to make life better for customers with special needs. The Bank already has employees in some of its branches who have been specially trained to communicate with hearing-impaired customers through basic banking sign language. BBK also waives a number of fees for customers with special needs, as well as providing dedicated parking and wheelchair access for these customers at all of its Financial Malls.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony of the new ATM at BBK’s Isa Town Financial Mall, Mr. Bucheery said: “At BBK we constantly strive to provide a quality banking experience for all our customers, particularly those with special needs – the hearing impaired, visually impaired and physically impaired. As a major employer in the Kingdom we have a particular, and keenly felt responsibility to support the special needs members of our society. The introduction of the first ATM in Bahrain with voice-guided features will allow our visually impaired customers to access and use banking services which they previously found difficult. This initiative is a very good example of how a bank can introduce new technology which improves the quality of people’s lives, and this makes all of us at BBK very proud.”
BBK has a long-standing tradition of Corporate Social Responsibility and this initiative marks another important milestone for the Bank. It not only demonstrates BBK’s ongoing commitment to supporting the special needs community in Bahrain, but it also reinforces the Bank’s position as a leading organisation in corporate social responsibilities.