Every bank should have an atypical neuro person on its board or tech subcommittee, said Dylsexia New Zealand chairman Guy Pope-Mayell.
MPs learned on Wednesday that the rush to eliminate queues and close bank branches, and to force everyone to transact electronically, was happening without regard for up to a million people. “Neuro-diverse” living with conditions such as dyslexia and traumatic brain injury.
National MP Andrew Bayly has asked the Special Committee on Finance and Expenses to investigate whether the rush to online banking is creating barriers for people with a neuro-difference in managing their financial lives .
Pope-Mayell, who is also a director of snack maker Cookie Time, supported Bayly’s call for an investigation, but said the âlived experienceâ of people with neurodiverse should be reflected on the boards of directors. banks and their committees overseeing banking technology.
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âAbsolutely they should, and certainly in their committees. Ideally, on the board of directors, but certainly on committees where you have key decisions, âsaid Pope-Mayell.
Internet banking could be stressful for neuro-different people, he said.
Thing contacted the Big Five banks, but none said they intended to include neuro-diversity in the hiring policies of their board or committees.
Bayly told the select committee he was prompted by the story of a dyslexic Pukekohe man who was told by his bank to dive 90 miles to do his banking because he was too scared to do banking online, for fear of transposing numbers and losing money.
His petition, submitted early last year, was initially aimed at the government to prevent banks and ministries from abandoning checks.
Bayly said UK MPs had succeeded in preventing UK banks from dropping checks over similar concerns.
But as the end of the checks neared, Bayly changed her tactics to demand an investigation to ensure that people with conditions such as dyslexia or mild traumatic brain injury are not left behind.
Australia’s Big Four banks have said they will phase out checks this year, while the state-owned Kiwibank stopped issuing checks last year, saying at the time that 99% of payments of his clients were performed by other methods.
ANZ announced that it will stop accepting checks at the end of May and BNZ on July 31. ASB would stop issuing checkbooks on May 28 and Westpac would go checkless on June 25.
Bayly requested that the select committee undertake an investigation to assess whether government agencies and entities including Inland Revenue, ACC and KiwiBank would offer adequate provisions to enable people who were unable, could not afford or if he wasn’t sure they would pay. for goods and services digitally.
The investigation should take into account planned bank branch closures in rural and smaller communities, he said.
Bayly said committee chairman Duncan Webb, a Labor MP, told him Labor MPs would vote against the petition.
Webb said he can’t remember saying this to Bayly.
âThe problem is real and I can’t wait to see it resolved,â Webb said.
He said he expressed his frustration to Bayly for bringing witnesses to speak, as time had not been set aside for the committee to hear them.
But, he said, because it was an important issue, the committee had allowed Bayly and representatives from Blind Low Vision NZ, Gray Power and the Dyslexia Society to take more than the 10 minutes. planned to speak.
Webb said that even if he rejects Bayly’s original petition, which he said focused very closely on requiring VAC and Inland Revenue to continue to accept checks, he may decide to investigate.
The committee has 11 MPs, including six Labor MPs.
What the banks said
Thing asked all banks if they had consulted with representative neurodiversity organizations like Dyslexia NZ on optimizing online banking and online systems for people with neurodiversity.
We also asked for their response to Pope-Mayell’s call for neuro-diversity on their boards.
All of the banks that responded said they had diversity and inclusion policies, and all said they would like to work with Dyslexia NZ.
ANZ: Spokesman Stefan Herrick said the bank is working with an accessibility consultancy for all disabled people on its digital platforms and aims to adhere to global design and development best practice guidelines, including extensive user research and testing.
The bank had a committee dedicated to improving ANZ’s accessibility for customers and staff, and within its digital design team, it had staff responsible for championing the importance of accessibility.
The bank also hoped to build on the neurodiversity work being done at its Australian parent company, including the Spectrum program for people with autism.
Kiwibank: Spokeswoman Kara Tait said Kiwibank has “many options in place, both non-digital and digital, and can work one-on-one with customers who need special assistance.”
Kiwibank had also hired a digital accessibility consultancy for all people with disabilities to conduct a formal audit of its website to ensure that it was accessible for different abilities, including neurodiversity, she said.
âThe audit recommendations continue to be adopted and we actively consider them in our design practices,â she said.
âWe are currently conducting a new audit of our Internet and mobile banking channels. “
Westpac: Spokesman Max Bania said the bank has an “extra care program team” and a staff-led accessibility action group, which has consulted with people from across the board. the company to improve the banking experience for people with disabilities.
BNZ: spokesperson Michael Burgess said the bank worked with a range of organizations representing disability and vulnerability to ensure that its services were easy to use for as many clients as possible.
âWe value diversity and have neurodiverse people in leadership positions and represented on committees. We have work in progress to help us better support our employees and customers who are neurodiverse, âhe said.