Chief Operations & Technology Officer Cathy Bessant received Disability: IN’s 2021 John D. Kemp Leadership Award for her role in developing Bank of America’s disability employment programs. The award is named for a co-founder of the American Association of People with Disabilities. Cathy chairs the company’s Disability Advisory Council, which works to consistently improve and further develop the company’s strategy for employees, clients and communities affected by disabilities. In accepting the award, Cathy thanked Bank of America’s Disability Action Network which has grown to more than 17,000 memberships and 30 chapters worldwide. “It is our goal to be the company of choice for employees and clients with disabilities,” Cathy said. “We will build upon this foundation as we continue to create a work environment that’s inclusive, welcoming and accessible to all.”
Bank of America has staffing teammates dedicated to disability hiring who partner with external disability organizations, including disability services offices on college campuses, to help get referrals into the company’s pipeline. The bank partners with national agencies and local community-based organizations to provide people with disabilities equal access to employment opportunities. This extends to disabled veterans and partnerships with organizations like the Department of Defense’s Hiring our Heroes, Vocational Rehabilitation and Goodwill Industries.
Support for employees with disabilities: Bank of America ensures that all employees have access to the technology and information needed to reach their goals. Closed captioning is available for internal employee broadcasts, and employees can use navigation tools designed for the visually-impaired to order technology equipment. Our Disability Action Network (DAN) supports employees with disabilities, as well as employees who have family members, friends or clients with disabilities, by connecting them to opportunities for professional growth and development, holding information forums, and providing opportunities for community involvement. DAN members also educate the company about topics that are important to the disability community, holding employee and community events focused on special needs planning, resources for children with learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s and eldercare, diabetes, and disability etiquette and services available at the bank.
Being magnetic for top talent, including people with disabilities: Bank of America has staffing teammates dedicated to disability hiring, who partner with external disability organizations to help get referrals into the company’s pipeline. The bank partners with national agencies and local community-based organizations to provide people with disabilities equal access to employment opportunities. This extends to disabled veterans and partnerships with organizations like the Department of Defense’s Hiring our Heroes, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Goodwill Industries.
Providing accessible banking and integrated solutions: Bank of America is committed to investing in its entire network of approximately 4,300 retail financial centers. This includes becoming the first financial services company with a nationwide footprint to offer Aira services in all of our financial centers and remote ATMs —technology that helps blind and low-vision clients better access financial centers and ATMs. This free virtual assistant service connects special needs clients with highly-trained professionals who work with bank teammates to provide visual information on demand via an app.
We promote accessible banking through a variety of tools and services, including accessible facilities, auxiliary aids and services at no charge. Talking ATMs deliver private spoken instructions through a headset that plugs into an audio jack to help customers complete their transactions. Currently, there are more than 16,000 talking ATMs.
The bank also offers ADA-compliant banking services through its iPhone mobile app, online banking chat and sales. As part of a continued investment in its financial center and ATM network to better serve the needs of all clients, Bank of America has introduced new ADA Specialty Centers in Brockton, MA, and Washington, D.C., with plans to open another in San Francisco, CA in 2021. The sites were specifically chosen for their proximity to schools for the blind and deaf, as well as VA hospitals. The Centers offer a customized experience that will further benefit individuals with disabilities and will be staffed by highly-trained teammates, many of whom self-identify as having a disability, and will feature tailored capabilities including braille Better Money Habits®, hearing induction loops and American Sign Language–trained employees.
Our financial advisors who are certified in Special Needs Planning provide integrated solutions for the entire household and help address issues that may be unique to families of individuals with disabilities.