First Union Press Release
This press release was issued as a result of a settlement that Lainey and Linda Dardarian negotiated using Structured Negotiations on behalf of representatives of the blind community in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Tom Earle, formerly with the Disabilities Law Project in Philadelphia, now known as the Disability Rights Network of Pennsylvania, also represented the Claimants. As stated in the release, First Union, since purchased by Wachovia, installed the first Talking ATMs in several states.
First Union National Bank Announces First Installation of Audio Assisted ATMs in Maryland, New Jersey and North Carolina
Talking ATMs Will Aid Persons with Vision Impairments.
Charlotte, N.C. (October 4, 2001) — First Union National Bank today announced the first installation of audio-assisted or talking ATMs in Maryland, New Jersey and North Carolina. The effort, hailed by the blindness community, includes the installation of 19 audio-assisted ATMs in those states, as well as in Pennsylvania, Florida and Washington, DC. In the next nine months, more than 100 machines will be installed in these states and other First Union locations.
First Union National Bank and Wachovia Bank, N.A., are banking subsidiaries of the holding company Wachovia Corporation. Wachovia Corporation was created through the September 1, 2001 merger of First Union Corporation and Wachovia Corporation.
First Union is excited to offer audio-assisted ATMs throughout our markets, said Cece Sutton, executive vice president and Retail Banking Executive for Wachovia Corporation. Supporters of the blindness community have been terrific partners in our quest to provide banking independence to our customers with vision impairments. Through the installation of audio-assisted ATMs, we are able to offer visually impaired customers greater convenience in accessing their First Union accounts.
Todays announcement also was praised by members of the blindness community, who worked closely with the company in developing this new technology.
We applaud First Unions demonstrated commitment to improving banking accessibility for blind and visually impaired people, said Pat Yarborough, a representative of the North Carolina Council of the Blind, an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind who has been actively involved in the initiative.
During the next nine months, First Union plans to enhance select ATMs to include audio-assistance functionality (see list of locations at the end of the release). These machines will offer audio guidance and instructions for all transactions, including spoken customer balances. The ATMs also will be equipped with universal audio jacks that work with standard earphones. Customers with vision impairments will be provided with headsets so they can hear the instructions in privacy. When the earphones are plugged into the jack, the listener hears private audio instructions for transactions displayed on the ATM screen, such as cash withdrawals, balance inquiries, deposits, transfers and payments.
Other representatives of the blindness community assisting First Union include the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania; the Orange County Disability Awareness Council of Chapel Hill, N.C.; the Pennsylvania Council for the Blind, an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind; and other people who are blind or have low vision.
Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian, two California lawyers who have assisted members of the blindness community around the country said, the expanded First Union services will benefit the blindness community as well as all persons who have difficulty reading standard print.
Tom Earle, with the Disabilities Law Project in Philadelphia, praised First Union for the initiative. I urge other financial institutions to follow its example in providing independent access for all customers to a wide array of banking services, said Earle.
More information can be obtained by calling 1-800-ASK-FUNB or by visiting the First Union website at http://www.firstunion.com.
Wachovia Corporation, created through the September 1, 2001, merger of First Union Corporation and Wachovia Corporation with pro forma assets of $322 billion as of June 30, is a leading provider of financial services to 19 million retail and corporate customers throughout the East Coast and the nation. The company operates full-service banking offices in 11 East Coast states and Washington, D.C., and offers full-service brokerage with offices in 47 states and global services through more than 30 international offices.
Sarah Holden, (704) 383-7157
For Blind Community
Linda Dardarian, (510) 763-9800, Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak and Baller, [email omitted]
Lainey Feingold, (510) 848-8125, [email omitted]
Tom Earle, Disability law Project (215) 238-8070, #209
Location of First Union’s Audio Assisted ATMs:
District of Columbia: Washington1510 K St. NW
Coral Springs 3300 University Dr.
Lake Worth 120 N. Dixie Highway
Naples 6155 Town Center Circle
Tampa 10430 Highland Manor Dr.
Maryland: Baltimore7 St. Paul Street
Charlotte: 301 S. Tryon St., and 1525 WT Harris Blvd.
Mooresville 631 Brawley School Rd.
Durham 201 N. Roxboro Rd.
New Jersey: Kendall Park: 3510 Route 27
Allentown 702 Hamilton Mall
Newton Square 3515 W. Chester Pike
1500 Market Street 2 W. Girard Ave.,
601 Chestnut St.,
6208 Lancaster Ave.,
340-50 S. Second St.,
1 N. 5th St., 123 S. Broad St.,
1712 Walnut St.
Scranton, 130 Wyoming Ave.