Why Your Credit Union Needs An Accessible Website

In March 2017, the DOJ released new regulations for the Section-508 & WCAG 2.0, ADA accessibility standards for websites, with a one-year reprieve to become compliant. 

This means your credit union still has plenty of time to comply, right? Not really

Ensuring that your credit union website is accessible can be a relatively seamless effort, although it can take a considerable amount of time and resources. We feel it’s best to tackle accessibility as part of rebuilding or refreshing your site.

If you’re holding off on redesigning your website to wait for the guidelines, here’s why that’s a bad idea.

Lawsuits are being filed agenst credit unions for non accessibility. The DOJ has stressed that banks and credit unions should make their websites accessible to the disabled now, to avoid the possibility of receiving demand letter or even a lawsuit.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice's ADA statistics, 18% of all Americans fall under the ADA provisions, with that number steadily increasing. Consumers over the age of 50 (many of them your long-standing members) often experience changes in vision, hearing and mobility that affect how they use your credit union’s website. And with limited mobility comes a greater reliance on your online banking resources.

Those affected may need to use hardware and software tools to add text descriptions to graphics, voice-overs that read text aloud or offer transcripts of videos. An accessible website easily interacts with these programs to maximize the visitor’s experience on the site. 

Although the disabled may have access to these tools, many websites — including a large percentage of banks and credit unions — aren’t designed and coded to make use of them.

With increasingly more banking being conducted over the Internet, and the changes to the regulatory landscape, getting out in front of this online accessibility issue is a sensible business decision.

Accessibility across the board from marketing to financial statements not only enables all members to take control of their finances, banking, and investment decisions, it also demonstrates your credit union’s commitment to meeting the individual needs of each member. 

Not to mention, many website compliance tactics are also current best practices for SEO (search engine optimization), a benefit often overlooked by credit unions. If your site is more than two years old, these compliance rules wouldn’t have typically been addressed. 

If your credit union is contemplating a website redesign, taking action now to address approaching website compliance standards is vital. Creating a website that is non-discriminatory should be a part of every credit union’s marketing plan.