PWD accessibility rating to be developed for banks

The Bank of Russia’s working group for the financial inclusion of people with disabilities (PWDs) supported the initiative to develop a regular rating system for banks with respect to the creation of a barrier-free environment for PWDs, and to inform credit institutions of the results.

Summarising the activity of the working group in 2017, the head, Mikhail Mamuta, said that in its first year the group has identified the main barriers that PWDs must overcome when seeking financial services, and that the process of removing them has now begun.

Recommendations for improving the quality of services provided to PWDs were sent to banks, insurance companies, and non-bank financial institutions by the Bank of Russia. A workshop for the heads of the country’s major banks was held, focusing on understanding the needs of PWDs and barriers they face in credit institutions.

Next year, the group will work on improving services, including remote services, for identifying and authenticating PWDs, and will study the possibility of using the Federal Register of PWDs for the provision of financial services. The group also intends to focus on enhancing the tools used to analyse the accessibility of bank offices and remote banking services for PWDs. 2018 will see the group take on joint pilot projects with financial institutions to implement best practices for servicing PWDs.

During the meeting of the working group, Timur Aimaletdinov, Director of NAFI Research Center, presented the results of the analysis of accessibility of financial services and bank offices for PWDs. The group supported the initiative to develop a regular rating system for banks with respect to the creation of a barrier-free environment for PWDs, and discussed the related proposals.

Mikhail Terentiev, a member of the working group and a deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, talked about making amendments to certain laws, in particular, introducing the use of facsimile signatures as an alternative to personal signatures for certain categories of PWDs. The group’s members proposed to continue this work, which includes the establishment of a system of remote identification and authentication of PWDs receiving public and financial services.

Summarising the group’s activity, Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina said: ‘This year, we have mostly been providing recommendations to financial institutions, but now we are ready to introduce mandatory requirements for them with respect to the creation of a comfortable and non-discriminatory environment for people with disabilities seeking financial services’.

8 December 2017

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