KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan has advised banks / DFIs / MFBs to provide facilities for special persons suffering from any disability by making bank branches and ATM cabins easily accessible to them. In a circular issued today, SBP advised to provide preferential treatment or out of queue assistance to all special persons desirous to conduct banking transaction or want to avail other financial services from these institutions.
The SBP has also directed banks / DFIs / MFBs to make arrangements, wherever possible, to construct ramps at the entrance of existing branches and ATM cabins to allow easy access to special persons and wheelchair users. Banks / DFIs / MFBs have further been directed to take maximum care for the possibility of constructing ramp while opening any new branch premises or installing an ATM cabin as a part of their network expansion plan. It has been emphasized that the structure of newly installed ATM cabins should be designed in such a manner that special persons and wheelchair users are facilitated to access the same.
According to the circular, the SBP expects banks / DFIs / MFBs to explore the feasibility of installing talking ATMs in consultation with other industry players so that at least one talking ATM is generally available to the users at different locations in a city. Banks have been further advised to make arrangements to bring the locations of such talking ATMs to the notice of general public.
The SBP has directed banks / DFIs / MFBs to provide a list of all such branches and ATM cabins to SBP, on half yearly basis from June 30, 2014 onwards, where the above initiatives have been implemented by them for the benefit of special persons.