DeafHear Regional News

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Santander Bank in UK values Deaf customers

Posted: 26th November 2015 Santander Bank in UK values Deaf customers 2015


This week the Hearing Times newspaper reported that Santander bank in the UK have signed a deal to enable their Deaf customers to place video calls in British Sign Language (BSL) to Santander via a free and secure link on the bank’s website. The calls are facilitated by SignVideo, a company which provides a video relay service for Deaf people using fully qualified sign language interpreters. IRIS Irish Remote Interpreting Service

Sue Willis, managing director of customer experience said “We are delighted to announce our partnership with SignVideo and the improved service to our British Sign Language (BSL) customers.” She added “Our work in providing equal service to all our customers is continuing, and working with SignVideo is a big step forward in helping us achieve this.”


Jeff McWhinney, chairman and founder of SignVideo said “We are extremely proud that Santander have chosen us to deliver equality for their deaf BSL customers.” SignVideo is a company providing video remote interpreting services in British Sign Language, enabling communication between Deaf sign language users and hearing people. The service is available on a variety of devices, including tablets, smartphones, computers and laptops.

Jeff explained “The fact that BSL is not based on English and is a language in its own right is often misunderstood. Banks use emails and web chat for customer services and this is actually creating a barrier for us deaf BSL users and as a result, we struggle to gain easy access to help when we need it.”


SLIS (Sign Language Interpreting Service), IDS (Irish Deaf Society) and DeafHear have collaborated over a number of years to develop a video interpreting service, in an effort to make services more accessible to Deaf people who use Irish Sign Language (ISL). IRIS (Irish Remote Interpreting Service) is operated by SLIS, and while the service is growing steadily, many public service providers have been very slow to take up this service.

Brendan Lennon, DeafHear’s Head of Advocacy believes that Santander’s example puts many of our public service providers to shame. “Despite the legal requirements of the Disability Act to provide equal access to people with disabilties, many public services remain inaccessible to Deaf people. In many instances IRIS is a viable option, but the powers that be are very slow to take up the service.”


Let’s hope that Santander’s example will inspire some of Ireland’s service providers, both public and private, to use the IRIS service to improve access to their services for Deaf people. Line Break Image


At present IRIS is registered in over 60 locations around Ireland.
To view locations near you see map below


Media Contacts will provide spokespersons to comment on issues relevant to Deaf and Hard of Hearing people on request.

To contact Brendan Lennon; Head of Information and Policy, click here...





more...Hearing loss costs an estimated €2.2bn every year in Ireland.


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