DES MOINES, Iowa - January 16, 2002 - Wells Fargo Bank Iowa, N.A. and the Iowa Council of the United Blind announced today that Wells Fargo Talking ATMs are now up and running at approximately 14 locations across the state. A rollout of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) with audio capability will continue through 2002 in Iowa.
Through voice instruction, the new Talking ATMs tell users who cannot read information on an ATM screen how to deposit money, withdraw cash, transfer funds and buy stamps. In addition, customers can use the new Talking ATMs to hear account balances for primary checking, savings and market rate accounts. To protect the privacy and security of blind and low vision users, the Talking ATMs deliver voice information privately through audio jacks and earphones.
Customers can identify a Talking ATM by the audio decal on the front of the machine and the earphone decal near the earphone jack. Both of these decals are in large print and Braille.
Working with the California Council of the Blind, Wells Fargo announced in June of 1999 that it would pilot 20 Talking ATMs in California, and now over 800 Talking ATMs have been installed in that state. Following the success of the California effort, Wells Fargo began installing Talking ATMs at various locations across the country.
Customers can find the Talking ATM nearest to them by calling (800) 869-3557 or by visiting www.wellsfargo.com and clicking on the Talking ATM Locator link at the bottom of the screen.
Wells Fargo's efforts in Iowa were aided by the Iowa Council of the United Blind. "For the first time blind Iowans will be able to enjoy ATM access equal to that of their sighted peers," said Michael Barber of the Council. "We are pleased that Wells Fargo is the first in our state to recognize the rights of equal access for blind Iowans, and we are hopeful that other banks will follow in its footsteps."
Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian, two California lawyers who have assisted members of the blindness community nationally on this issue, also applauded Wells Fargo's efforts. "We congratulate Wells Fargo for its pioneering approach and innovation in providing Talking ATMs that benefit both the blindness community and all Iowans who have difficulty reading the ATM screen," said Feingold.
"We are committed to serving all of our customers, including those who are blind or have low vision," said H. Lynn Horak, Chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo Bank Iowa. "We were the first in the country to draw up a plan for developing and installing Talking ATMs, and we look forward to offering this enhanced ATM access to our vision impaired customers in Iowa."
The Iowa Council of the United Blind is an affiliate of the American Council of the Blind, representing blind persons across the state of Iowa. The Council advocates for the well being of blind Iowans in areas including accessible ATMs, quality rehabilitation programs, accessible computer environments and more. The Iowa Council of the United Blind can be reached at or www.acb.org/iowa.
Wells Fargo Bank Iowa, N.A offers 75 banking locations and some 120 Wells Fargo ATMs across the state, serving 45 Iowa communities. Wells Fargo ranks first in Iowa deposit market share with $5.8 billion in deposits.
Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $308 billion in assets, banking, insurance, wealth management and estate planning, investments, mortgage and consumer finance from more than 5,400 stores and the Internet ( www.wellsfargo.com ) across North America and elsewhere internationally.
Wells Fargo Bank Iowa, N.A.
Joan Dooley (515) 245-8254
Iowa Council of the United Blind
Michael Barber (515) 281-1391
Law Office of Elaine B. Feingold
1524 Scenic Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94708
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