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Gallaudet, National Disability Institute, hosted focus group on banking

Two presenters stand in front of 12 people sitting in semi-circle desk arrangement.

On Thursday, January 19, 2017, Gallaudet University partnered with the National Disability Institute (NDI) to host a focus group to learn about the experiences of deaf individuals with banking and other financial services. Nanette Goodman and Bonnie O’Day, researchers from NDI, facilitated the discussion with 12 deaf individuals from diverse backgrounds, ages, genders, and ethnicities.

Makur Aciek, ’97, assistant professor, Department of Business, welcomed NDI and focus group members by offering his own experiences with the financial industry in Canada. Before coming to Gallaudet, he was part of a unique project in Canada in which community college students with disabilities and deaf students were hired in the banking business. Aciek suggested that U.S. banks could become more accessible to the deaf community by hiring more deaf employees. 

During the two-hour interactive discussion, NDI staff inquired about people’s experiences using banks, ways they get money, and how they pay bills. In turn, participants shared various ways they manage money, how they conduct banking transactions, and how they access a bank’s services. 

Participants shared both positive experiences with banking and financial services, as well as the barriers to using banks and how banks could make their services more accessible to individuals with disabilities. Participants largely agreed that, if more deaf people worked in banking and financial services, along with some hearing people who know sign language, the industry would be significantly more deaf-friendly. 

In closing, NDI staff relayed to the group that the valuable information shared during the discussion will help expand access to financial services for people who are deaf and have different types of disabilities. During the coming months, NDI will collect information from other focus groups with individuals with disabilities across the country to help inform the banking industry on how financial services could be more accessible and deaf-friendly. NDI will also develop educational materials for people with disabilities and the deaf community about banking and managing money.

*NDI would like to give special thanks to Emilia A.  Chukwuma, ‘85, C.P.A., associate professor and chair of the Department of Business, and Karunya Samuel, ’83, of the Global Deaf Aid Foundation, for assisting with the organization of this focus group and location at Gallaudet University.

Posted by Phil Dignan | Posted January 30, 2017 at 8:32 AM

Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002

Gallaudet

800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002