Press release: RBS launch SignVideo service

05 May 2016

To coincide with Deaf Awareness Week, Business Disability Forum (BDF) Partner RBS is launching a new service for British Sign Language (BSL) customers, making it possible to instantly chat with the bank through a BSL interpreter.

The newly launched service - delivered by SignVideo - is free of charge and available via the Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest website and the SignVideo mobile app.

Deaf and hard of hearing BSL customers will be able to talk to an advisor using their computer, tablet or smartphone via a secure video call which instantly connects to a BSL interpreter, who then phones the RBS contact centre to relay the conversation in real time.

There are approximately 150,000 deaf British Sign Language users in the UK who will be able to benefit from the new service.

The launch of the SignVideo service demonstrates further the commitment of RBS to getting it right for disabled customers. It follows-on from RBS' launch of the UK's first accessible bank cards in February 2015. The accessible cards feature a number of easily identifiable markings that help blind and partially sighted customers to differentiate between their debit and savings card.

Furthermore, RBS and NatWest have invested in hi-tech, fully accessible mobile branch vans that can be used by customers with mobility restrictions who are unable to make it into a bank branch. 

Ewen Stevenson, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Sponsor for Inclusion at RBS said:

“We want to be the number one bank in the UK for customer service, trust and advocacy. This means striving to be inclusive for all of our customers. In partnering with SignVideo we hope to make a real difference to the lives of our deaf and hearing impaired customers.”

George Selvanera, Director of Strategy and External Affairs at BDF said:

"When it comes to achieving disability beat practice, RBS is an organisation that continues to innovate and think outside the box. We're delighted that RBS is launching the SignVideo service, which will significantly improve the organisation's service offering for customers who use BSL. Alongside the launch of accessible debit cards, mobile bank branches and the Touch ID mobile banking app, the SignVideo service further exemplifies RBS's dedication to being one of the most accessible banks for disabled customers."

Jeff McWhinney, SignVideo Founder and Chair said:

“We are very excited to see more banks like RBS thinking about how they can serve their deaf BSL customers. RBS has worked with SignVideo to launch a service that provides access to their helplines for the BSL community. I applaud the RBS for being one of the UK's leading banks in setting the benchmark for accessible customer services in the finance industry. The UK BSL community will be delighted that this service is now available.”

The service is available Monday to Friday from 8am – 6pm and can be found at www.rbs.co.uk and www.natwest.co.uk

 

ENDS 

Notes to Editors:

1. Business Disability Forum is a business membership organisation that works with over 300 organisations across the UK and abroad. We have more than twenty years’ experience of equipping people with the expertise to create confident organisations by improving the understanding of disability in business, removing barriers and making adjustments for individuals. For more information about the Forum please visit: http://businessdisabilityforum.org.uk/about-us.

2. For media and press enquiries, contact Emily Jackson, Press Officer via emilyj@businessdisabilityforum.org.uk or call 020 7089 2404

3. SignVideo provides British Sign Language (BSL) video interpreting services to enable communication between the community of over 150,000 deaf BSL users in the UK and hearing people. The service allows users to make and receive BSL interpreted video calls so that they can effectively and effortlessly communicate with each other. This happens through a professional video interpreter who relays the call between BSL and English and the service is available instantly on tablets, smartphones, computers and laptops via apps and software. Born in 2004, SignVideo is led by Jeff McWhinney, a well-known deaf entrepreneur who fights tirelessly for equality of the deaf and hearing community. Today, SignVideo, a predominantly deaf-led organisation, provides their service to the government, NHS, councils, UK banks, telecommunications providers, helplines and many other types of organisations.

4. For further information contact Andrew.Neilson@rbs.co.uk or call: 0131 626 1839