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Why is Digital Accessibility Important?
Having your websites and apps available to more people to both discover your services and become loyal customers is vitally important to your bottom line. Furthermore, many banks, credit unions, and similar financial service organizations across the country have received demand letters claiming that the organization’s website or apps are non-accessible to blind and other disabled persons. These letters claim the organizations violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (the “ADA”).
We know this because we work directly with multiple banks and financial services companies in testing and improving their websites in response to these demands.
Although the ADA itself was passed in 1990 and does not discuss websites, multiple courts have held that the ADA does apply to websites and requires websites and similar technology such as apps to be accessible to individuals with disabilities. (Example, National Association of the Deaf v. Netflix.) The U.S. Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) has taken the position repeatedly in public documents and enforcement actions that the ADA applies to websites, including bank websites, and that such websites should meet the standards described in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, level AA. (Example, DOJ “Consent Decree” H&R Block, 2014.)
In sum: banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions with websites that do not meet the WCAG 2.0 AA requirements are vulnerable to class action and other lawsuits as well as DOJ enforcement actions.