UJB Irons Out Some Wrinkles

Banks expect a spate of problems complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act. But in terms of ATMs, United Jersey Banks already has ironed out some of the wrinkles.

Last summer, the bank struck an agreement with NCR Corp. to test a prototype unit by the vendor that adhered to the new law's standards.

"We wanted to get a jump on our preparations for the act," said Mark Fitzgerald, director of operations for United Jersey's 210 ATMs. "We knew we couldn't do it all at once, but at least we have a more concrete idea of what the effort entails."

United Jersey, in Princeton, also appointed a special task force to direct its compliance effort. The group's most pressing problem may be how to best make ATMs accessible to people with visual impairments.

Despite the test run, bank officials said they are still weighing whether to install high-contrast screens that would sharpen the image of on-screen ATM instructions or software that would issue audible cues.

The reason for any delay may be that banks aren't completely clear on accomodations required by the law for people with visual handicaps. Most institutions maintain that it is much easier to meet requirements for people in wheelchairs.

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