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PNC Settles Lawsuit Over Access for the Visually Impaired

PNC Financial Services, Pittsburgh, has tentatively settled a lawsuit with two visually impaired persons over ATM access.

The plaintiffs-represented by the Disabilities Law Project, a Pennsylvania-based advocacy firm-were trying to force PNC to provide ATM access to the blind under provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Under the settlement, which is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court, visually impaired customers will be able to call a toll-free number using cell phones-either their own or one supplied by PNC-to reach a specially-trained representative from PNC's National Financial Services Center, who will guide the customer through the transaction.

"It was important for us to create a process that will enhance our visually impaired customers' experience at the ATM," according to James Walker, senior vice president in charge of ATMs at PNC.

Similar actions have been brought against other banks, including Chevy Chase Bank, McLean, Va., and Pittsburgh-based Mellon Bank. Mellon last year began installing "talking" ATMs in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas. Other banks that haven't been sued, including Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Citibank, have installed or are testing talking ATMs.

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