How To Make Online Banking Disabled-People-Friendly

Banks have undertaken extensive steps to transform their customer experience over the last decade in keeping with sweeping technological advancements. However, these efforts have yet to meet the needs of one key customer demographic: people with disabilities (PWDs).

In a post-pandemic world, accessibility has emerged as a critical factor for all customers, with most choosing online channels to perform their financial transactions. Our recent research found that new technologies can enable banks to become partners in the financial well-being of their customers. In the case of PWDs, banks must improve accessibility to help this underserved consumer category to enhance their financial well-being.

As of 2018, 58% of banking websites failed accessibility tests that examine websites on four principles: perceivability, operability, understandability and robustness. And a recent rise in lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (and resultant reputational and business risks) suggest that banks have a long way to go in addressing this matter. Importantly, improving accessibility benefits not only PWDs but all users since banks are likely to uncover related issues affecting all customers.

This means fixing accessibility loopholes in the current offerings as well as ensuring that the objective is embodied in banks’ digital blueprints and organizational culture. While the former can be achieved by adopting latest standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1), the latter calls for a focused approach to spread awareness about accessibility among employees and to leverage the power of data and intelligent machines to uncover and fix issues.

Why Accessibility Matters for Banks

Banks’ websites falter at accessibility

Market opportunity

Surge in mobile banking post-COVID

  • Post-COVID, there was a 85% surge in online banking registrations in the US.

Roadmap for building inclusive, accessible banking

Customer service is the cornerstone for digital brands. Applying data collected from multiple touchpoints enhances banks’ ability to attract and retain customers and boost brand loyalty. Yet every year, businesses in the US lose billions of dollars in revenue due to poor customer experience. For banks, this could mean losing customers to more aggressive and accommodating fintechs.

The accessibility blind spot creates hurdles that undermine user experience, and generates legal risks for businesses: More than 2,000 ADA lawsuits were filed in federal courts in 2020, and the number is likely to be higher this year. Meanwhile, the entry of nonbank digital insurgents means that switching banks is now easier than ever, especially among the younger set.

We have worked with leading US banks and financial services companies to make their websites more accessible. This has helped us create a roadmap to remediate accessibility issues. This bottom-up approach can be applied across a banks’ digital landscape.

Creating ADA-Compliance Framework for a Financial Services Provider

We worked with one of the largest US-based independent broker-dealers, with 15,000-plus financial advisors, which wanted to make its cluster of advisor-facing and home-office-facing applications compliant with the latest WCAG 2.1 guidelines.

We began by carrying out an end-to-end manual and automated assessment of the existing list of applications for ADA compliance. These included unique/high profile web pages for accessibility assessment, access set-ups and assessment plans. By analyzing aspects such as keyboard and screen readers (navigation, heading structure, text sizing, etc.) and using code screening to perform compliance analysis and identifying gaps, we were able to identify 2,500-plus accessibility issues.

Based on these issues, we remediated 250-plus online pages, forms and pdfs in accordance with WCAG 2.1 guidelines. We deployed an Angular JS-based framework and a scaled Agile methodology to revamp webpages according to the guidelines.

Furthermore, we evaluated all existing advisor/home-office-facing applications to identify accessibility issues, the risks they pose and suggested solutions. We then created an ADA governance framework to determine which level of compliance is required. Finally, we developed internal processes and architectural standards to ensure ADA compliance requirements are “baked in” to future projects/enhancements.

Functions such as opening new accounts, trading, advisor practice management, account viewing, etc. were overhauled as a result of the remediation efforts. We were able to create:

  • A superior user experience with inclusive design catering to disabled category financial advisors.
  • An ADA-compliant framework, with a catalog of checkpoints and best practices for future remediation exercises.
  • A roadmap for future development and the launch of public-facing websites and technology impacting investors and advisors.

Future of accessible banking

The shift to online banking post-COVID is believed to be permanent, making accessibility a key for customer engagement. Becoming and staying WCAG compliant may not be mandatory, but is critical for creating delightful customer journeys in today’s hypercompetitive banking sector. To stay ahead of the curve, we suggest:

  • Avoid the easy fix trap. Accessibility must be seen as an ongoing requirement, meaning remediation efforts should build on past successes rather than easy fixes which may create problems later.
  • Upskill web development talent. In-house web development expertise is critical for accessibility. Upskilling the existing web development teams will provide continuous support and save costs.

Sachin is a consulting partner and Senior Director in Cognizant’s Banking Consulting Practice in India. He has more than 20 years of experience in banking

Source: How To Make Online Banking Disabled-People-Friendly

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Critics:

Worst-rated banks Despite being parent bank to First Direct, HSBC received the lowest score from customers (62%), followed by TSB (65%). TSB earned just two stars for both online and branch banking, HSBC earned three stars across the board.
Negative comments from TSB customers cited recent branch closures (82 in 2019 and a further 164 by the end of this year) or criticised its digital services for ‘frequent IT problems’, or being ‘unusable’. There were more damning statements, too – one customer feels that staff ‘talk down to you like you’re daft just because you are in a wheelchair’.
Another said that ‘the bank has no idea when it comes to dealing with me being deaf and blind’. TSB said that it continually works to improve support available to disabled customers, and has recently partnered with the Digital Accessibility Centre to review its mobile app and website. HSBC UK said it strives to ensure its products and services are fully inclusive, accessible and flexible for all customers:
‘We are actively engaging with customers with disabilities to enhance our digital experiences as well as ensuring our branches are fully accessible.’
More Banking Possibilities:

Accessibility at Lloyds

Lloyds digital skills courses

Lloyds’ Signly browser extension for BSL translation

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) state

Accessible services at Nationwide

Nationwide’s commitment to digital accessibility

Accessibility at Halifax

Accessible services at Natwest

Banking support from Natwest during coronavirus

Natwest video banking service

How to videos for mobile banking with Natwest

Accessibility at First Direct 

Video Relay Services at First Direct 

Starling Connected Card

How to pay in cheques from your mobile phone

Coronavirus support blog

Scope Coronavirus information and updates

How to get support from your bank (UK Finance)

How is your bank helping customers in the coronavirus pandemic (Moneyfacts)

RNIB mobile banking apps accessibility overview

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European Banking Authority (EBA) Microsoft Exchange Servers Hacked

Paris Looks to Charm London's Brexiles

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has confirmed it has fallen victim to the ongoing Microsoft Exchange attacks.

With a total of four highly valuable zero-day exploits, previously unreported vulnerabilities that give cybercriminals a head start in any attack campaign, the attacks against on-premises Microsoft Exchange servers were always going to be a big deal. Those initial attacks, which prompted Microsoft to publish an emergency out-of-band security update, were attributed to a nation state-sponsored group identified as HAFNIUM. The nation in question is China. However, Microsoft has now confirmed that it “continues to see increased use of these vulnerabilities in attacks targeting unpatched systems by multiple malicious actors beyond HAFNIUM.”

As I reported on March 6, credible sources were suggesting that the attacks against vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers were thought to have compromised ‘hundreds of thousands’ of servers, more than 30,000 in the U.S. alone.

One of those attacked outside of the U.S. was the European Union’s banking regulator, the European Banking Authority. On March 7, the EBA issued a statement confirming that it had “been the subject of a cyber-attack against its Microsoft Exchange Servers.”

While stating that a full investigation was underway, the EBA went on to add: “As the vulnerability is related to the EBA’s email servers, access to personal data through emails held on that servers may have been obtained by the attacker. The EBA is working to identify what, if any, data was accessed. Where appropriate, the EBA will provide information on measures that data subjects might take to mitigate possible adverse effects. As a precautionary measure, the EBA has decided to take its email systems offline. Further information will be made available in due course.”

Further information was, indeed, made available by way of an update on March 8. “The EBA investigation is still ongoing and we are deploying additional security measures and close monitoring in view of restoring the full functionality of the email servers,” it read. “At this stage, the EBA email infrastructure has been secured and our analyses suggest that no data extraction has been performed and we have no indication to think that the breach has gone beyond our email servers.”

“The exploitation of the 0days in question required some specific conditions and thus raises questions what exactly happened at the EBA,” Ilia Kolochenko, chief architect at ImmuniWeb, said. “Another key question is when exactly the EBA was compromised?” Kolochenko points out that if the intrusion happened after the disclosure but prior to the emergency patch, the vulnerable systems should have been immediately disconnected to prevent exploitation in the wild. “The EBA is likely not the last victim of this hacking campaign,” he warns, “and more public authorities may disclosure incidents stemming from exploitation of the same vulnerabilities.”

I have approached the EBA for further comment.

Meanwhile, Mark Bower, a senior vice-president at comforte AG, said that “the capacity for attackers to extract sensitive data from emails, spreadsheets in mailboxes, insecure credentials in messages, as well as attached servers presents an advanced and persistent threat with multiple dimensions.”

Although it should be reiterated that, at this point in the investigation, the EBA is saying that “no data extraction has been performed and we have no indication to think that the breach has gone beyond our email servers.” Bower, like Kolochenko, warns that more incidents will be reported. “Affected entities and their supply chain partners will see a persistent secondary impact as a result over a long period of time,” he said.

I’ll leave the final word to John Hultquist, vice-president of analysis with Mandiant Threat Intelligence. “Though broad exploitation of the Microsoft Exchange vulnerabilities has already begun, many targeted organizations may have more to lose as this capability spreads to the hands of criminal actors who are willing to extort organizations and disrupt systems.

The cyber espionage operators who have had access to this exploit for some time, aren’t likely to be interested in the vast majority of the small and medium organizations. Though they appear to be exploiting organizations in masses, this effort could allow them to select targets of the greatest intelligence value.”

Update March 9

The EBA has now published a third update, which I reprint here in full:

“The European Banking Authority (EBA) has established that the scope of the event caused by the recently widely notified vulnerabilities was limited and that the confidentiality of the EBA systems and data has not been compromised.

Thanks to the precautionary measures taken, the EBA has managed to remove the existing threat and its email communication services have, therefore, been restored.

Since it became aware of the vulnerabilities, the EBA has taken a proactive approach and carried out a thorough assessment to appropriately and effectively detect any network intrusion that could compromise the confidentiality, integrity and availability of its systems and data.

The analysis was carried out by the EBA in close collaboration with the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-EU) for the EU institutions, agencies and bodies, the EBA’s ICT providers, a team of forensic experts and other relevant entities.”

I’m a three-decade veteran technology journalist and have been a contributing editor at PC Pro magazine since the first issue in 1994. A three-time winner of the BT Security Journalist of the Year award (2006, 2008, 2010) I was also fortunate enough to be named BT Technology Journalist of the Year in 1996 for a forward-looking feature in PC Pro called ‘Threats to the Internet.’ In 2011 I was honored with the Enigma Award for a lifetime contribution to IT security journalism. Contact me in confidence at davey@happygeek.com if you have a story to reveal or research to share.

Source: European Banking Authority (EBA) Microsoft Exchange Servers Hacked

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Here’s What Banks Can Learn From Innovative Providers Reaping ROI From Personal Finance Management Tools

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Personal finance management (PFM) tools can allow banks to create highly personalized customer experiences and, in turn, drive revenue and retention.

The diversity of today’s PFM market illustrates the value that a wide range of providers see in developing such offerings, but its promise — PFM was lauded as the future of banking for over a decade — has long failed to materialize for most incumbent banks as well as consumers. PFM user share plateaued at between 10% and 12% as of 2017, the most recently available data, per Celent.

This plateau is the result of several design flaws that made earlier iterations of PFM tools unengaging. These include only showing users their financial data without providing actionable insights, personalized financial advice, or tools to manage their finances more easily; poor user experience (UX) due to many banks’ PFM functionalities being confined to separate tabs to better track engagement metrics; and limited data sharing before open banking regulations (in some jurisdictions), making personalization difficult to achieve due to incomplete financial data for each user.

Today’s most sophisticated PFM features, however, can give users maximal control of their finances while requiring little effort on users’ end through advances in AI, smart analytics, automation, and regulations like open banking. A new breed of PFM providers is drawing on these developments to roll out features that are more insightful, accurate, and predictive than before, making them a powerful tool for getting consumers to engage with their finances in a meaningful way. Customers are responding to this upgraded version of PFM, and banks need to pay attention or they’ll risk eroding customer engagement and loyalty. As customers engage with their finances more meaningfully, banks can translate this increased engagement into more revenue.

In the Personal Finance Management Disruptors report, Business Insider Intelligence gives an overview of the major categories of players shaping the PFM market today. We continue by outlining some best practices for banks looking to upgrade their PFM offerings, based on exclusive interviews conducted with seven leading PFM providers.

We then present the PFM Digital Maturity Model to show banks and other providers the standards they should be aiming for as they build new PFM features to satisfy customers. We continue by making the case for why banks should reinvest in PFM, and why they can’t afford not to. Then, we examine eight sophisticated PFM features we believe are bringing significant value to customers and banks today, enriched through our interviews with the companies providing them.

The companies mentioned in this report include: Cleo AI, Greenlight, Meniga, Minna Technologies, N26, Personal Capital, Personetics, and Strands. Here are some of the key takeaways from the report: PFM tools allow financial services providers to create highly personalized customer experiences and drive revenue and retention ……

Read more : Business Insider

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Digital Yuan Can Replace Cash If Four Conditions Are Met: Former Bank of China President

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The digital yuan can replace cash if it meets four conditions: greater efficiency, lower transaction costs, enough economic scale with commercial value, and people’s acceptance.

Former President of the Bank of China Li Lihui has said that the launch of the digital yuan is close and imminent. According to Li, the currency, which is currently at testing phase, could replace fiat currency in China if it meets four conditions.

The imminent launch of the currency has garnered excitement among investors and online searches about the impact of digital yuan and cryptocurrencies, in general, has seen a surge. In a live streaming talk on People’s News on 5 May, he said that the digital currency is different from other payment platforms such as Alipay and WeChat pay in the fact that the digital yuan has no association with any third party. In addition, he mentioned four conditions that need to be met in order for Yuan t replace other forms of payment.

“Whether the digital Yuan can become the dominant form of currency and mainstream payment means, depends on whether it has greater efficiency, lower transaction costs, enough economic scale with commercial value, and people’s acceptance.” Image Courtesy: Pixabay

By Muskan Bagrecha

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China is set to introduce its own digital currency. Experts are predicting that the digital currency will be used to allow the government and central bank to watch over what people spend their money on. With the aim to replace cash, China’s digital currency is likely to be more akin to electronic money stored on a physical medium. Central bank governor Yi Gang said the currency may be associated with existing electronic payment systems like the WeChat and AliPay apps. Subscribe to our channel here: https://cna.asia/youtubesub Subscribe to our news service on Telegram: https://cna.asia/telegram Follow us: CNA: https://cna.asia CNA Lifestyle: http://www.cnalifestyle.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/channelnewsasia Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/channelnews… Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/channelnewsasia

Bank Of England Warns Of Worst Economic Slump Since 1706

The Bank of England has warned that the U.K. economy could fall into its worst recession on record and could contract as much as 25% in the second quarter as the pandemic and lockdown measures have impacted businesses and workers.

In its latest monetary policy report, the U.K.’s central bank set out a range of scenarios for the economy, based on lockdown measures being gradually eased between June and September.

It suggested that while the economy contracts 2.9% in the first quarter, it could fall 25% in the second quarter, and shrink 14% this year.

That would make it the sharpest fall since 1706, according to Bank of England data.

Unemployment could also rise to 9%—beyond the 8% seen in the previous financial crisis—despite the British government’s job retention scheme covering 80% of wages, the bank said.

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey is hopeful of a rapid recovery with a forecast that GDP will rebound by 15% in 2021, and that “there is only limited scarring to the economy” thanks to government lifelines.

In early March, the British central bank made an emergency rate cut to 0.25%, before slashing it further to a record low of 0.1% days later, to soften the impact of the coronavirus on the British economy.

The BoE held off expanding its economic stimulus programme but two of the nine member monetary policy committee voted for additional bond buying.

Big number

Consumer spending is expected to plummet by 30% in the three months to June, compared to the last three months of 2019, the bank said.

Crucial comment

Adrian Lowcock of investment platform Willis Owen, said: “The Bank’s latest forecasts are the stuff of nightmares, with the UK tipped to see its economy shrink by 14% this year – a far worse decline than the one seen during the global financial crisis – while unemployment will leap to 9 million.

“The only good news today is that the Bank expects this economic bombshell to be short-lived, and for the economy to bounce back rapidly. However, the MPC itself concedes it is flying blind to a large extent, warning that a pandemic like this is “especially difficult to quantify.”

Key background

The Bank of England has introduced a raft of measures to cushion the British economy against the economic shock of an almost total shutdown of swathes of businesses. In addition to the interest rate cuts, the bank has injected a total of £645 billion ($752 billion) into the economy, mostly used to buy up government bonds. On Thursday, the bank’s governor, Andrew Bailey, said it was ready to provide additional support if needed, but the bank stopped short of agreeing on a further £100 billion ($123 billion) in quantitative easing, despite two members of its Monetary Policy Committee voting for it.

Further reading

Monetary Policy Report press conference (Bank of England)

Monetary Policy Report (Bank of England)

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

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I am a breaking news reporter for Forbes in London, covering Europe and the U.S. Previously I was a news reporter for HuffPost UK, the Press Association and a night reporter at the Guardian. I studied Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics, where I was a writer and editor for one of the university’s global affairs magazines, the London Globalist. That led me to Goldsmiths, University of London, where I completed my M.A. in Journalism. Got a story? Get in touch at isabel.togoh@forbes.com, or follow me on Twitter @bissieness. I look forward to hearing from you.

Source: Bank Of England Warns Of Worst Economic Slump Since 1706

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