Citibank Pilot Press Release

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This document is the press release about the first legal agreement in the United States about Talking ATMs. The agreement was signed by Citibank, the California Council of the Blind, and blind bank customers. No lawsuit was filed. Instead, a formal process known as Structured Negotiations was used. Lainey Feingold and Linda Dardarian were the lawyers for the blind community. This press release announced five Talking ATMs in California. Citibank signed a second agreement and agreed that all its branches in the United States would have Talking ATMs.

The Citibank Pilot Press Release was issued as a result of the Citibank Preliminary Talking ATM agreement, the first agreement in the United States in which a bank agreed to install Talking ATMs. The agreement was negotiated by Lainey and co-counsel Linda Dardarian using Structured Negotiations on behalf of the California Council of the Blind and blind advocates Steven Mendelsohn and Kathy Martinez. After the pilot announced here, the parties negotiated a final Citibank settlement agreement which resulted in installation of Talking ATMs at all Citibank branch locations in the United States.

Simplified Summary of this Document

California Council of the Blind Announces Nation’s First “Talking Touchscreen ATMs” at Citibank

citibank Oakland, CA (November 9, 1999) — The California Council of the Blind announced today the installation of pilot “talking” automated teller machines (”ATMs”) at five Citibank locations in California. The pilot machines are the first to combine touchscreens with technology that speaks information that sighted users see on the screen. Users will hear the on-screen information through headsets to ensure privacy.

The pilot machines have been installed at the following Citibank financial centers:

  • Downtown Berkeley 2323 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, California
  • Downtown San Francisco 260 California St., San Francisco, California
  • San Carlos 780 Laurel St., San Carlos, California
  • Los Angeles/Westchester 8800 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, California
  • West Los Angeles/Rancho Park 2566 Overland Ave., West Los Angeles, California

Don Brown, the California Council’s Berkeley chapter President, praised the new machines:

“Citibank’s machine is tremendous it allows me for the first time to do a variety of banking transactions unassisted. This is a great step toward making access to banking services a reality for people who are blind or vision impaired.”

The pilot machines have been installed pursuant to an agreement reached in July between Citibank and the California Council of the Blind and members of the blind community, who approached Citibank to discuss how the company’s ATMs could be programmed to communicate audibly with blind and low vision consumers. Lawyers for the blind community in these discussions were Linda M. Dardarian of the Oakland law firm of Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller, Berkeley disability rights lawyer Elaine B. Feingold, and the Berkeley based Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.

Media Contacts:

For the blind community
Lainey Feingold 510-848-8125
Law Office of Elaine B. Feingold
[email address omitted]

Linda Dardarian 510-763-9800
Saperstein, Goldstein, Demchak & Baller
[email address omitted]

For Citibank:
Mark Rodgers 718-248-1092
[email address omitted]

Kristina Faraclas 212-819-4831
Edelman PR Worldwide
[email address omitted]