BNP Paribas Fortis wins international award for accessibility


BNP Paribas Fortis is the first company in Belgium to carry off the ‘Disability Matters Europe' award. ‘Disability Matters' is an international conference and awards programme devised by US-based Springboard Consulting LLC to honour companies that show exemplary performance in making their services and/or workspaces accessible to people living with a disability. BNP Paribas Fortis has been selected to receive the ‘Europe Marketplace Award 2016', which will be handed over at a ceremony in Paris on 23 June.

In 2011 BNP Paribas Fortis embarked on a drive to improve the accessibility of its branches. This year 185 of our branches, i.e. 20% of the total number, received the ‘Fully Accessible' label from the reduced mobility research and consultancy body Plain-Pied. Moreover, in 2014 BNP Paribas Fortis set up a Customer Service programme entitled. From the very outset, emphasis was placed on improving the overall autonomy of customers living with all kinds of physical impairments, so that they do not need to call on the assistance of staff or other customers. This programme can already boast the following successes:

  • For the convenience of customers with reduced mobility, 185 of our branches can now be accessed using an inclined plane and are provided with a lower reception counter, automatic or semi-automatic doors, sufficient space, convenient parking spots, and so on.
  • For customers with impaired motor skills, BNP Paribas Fortis has developed special card-readers with extra-large buttons and screen for PC-banking, which can be ordered free of charge and will be delivered within the week.
  • All BNP Paribas Fortis ATMs, some 2,000 in total, are equipped with voice guidance systems designed for blind or visually impaired customers, which require the use of a headset. Customers can also request a card-reader with audio function for PC banking and Easy banking. These have also been equipped with a screen reading function for blind persons. Last but not least, the Bank will on request send out account statements in braille.
  • Customers with speech impairment wishing to have a meeting with their branch advisor can log in via the Bank's free WiFi network to a special app which provides remote sign-language interpreting. Any costs incurred will however be charged to the customer.

Earlier this year one of Belgium's leading consumer protection organisations named BNP Paribas Fortis as the most accessible bank in the country for people with reduced mobility and visual or auditory impairment. In a comparative study, the organisation underlined the importance of removing, as far as possible, obstacles which prevent people with disabilities from living daily life to the full. The report pointed out that a number of banks in Belgium are now making greater efforts to render their services more accessible and achieving pleasing results in this area.


*source: BECI, Livre blanc sur la diversité, Sept 2015