Banking Without Barriers: Creating an Inclusive In-Branch Experience


More than four million Australians live with disability. Many more have temporary or situational accessibility needs. The Equal Access Toolkit enables individuals to bank with the Commonwealth Bank (CBA) and Bankwest, with dignity and independence. Having been successfully piloted, the toolkit is launching nationally across 758 CBA and Bankwest branches.

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  • More than four million Australians live with disability. Feedback from users of CBA and Bankwest’s branches identified obstacles for customers with specific accessibility requirements: 1. Support mechanisms were unavailable to help individuals undertake banking activities and users were uncomfortable requesting help. 2. Teams lacked confidence and tools to serve customers with specific accessibility needs. Most staff were unsure how to offer appropriate support, including concerns about inadvertently causing offence. The objective was to design a best-in-class in-branch experience for individuals with accessibility needs, while empowering teams to deliver support appropriate to the unique needs of those individuals.

  • Over eight weeks the team designed and piloted a multi-faceted experience: The Equal Access Toolkit was created for people with diverse access requirements. Each tool was strategically placed throughout the branch ensuring full accessibility and ready availability. A preference card for customers to discreetly communicate their needs to branch teams. This empowered both users and staff to facilitate personalised support and eliminate concerns about inadvertently causing offence. Signage and badges made it easy for people with access needs to know where and who to go to for help. Scenario-based team training to increase team confidence in introducing support to customers.

  • The toolkit, preference cards and signage are being rolled out nationally into every CBA and Bankwest branch. A customer survey during the pilot confirmed 100% of customers who used the toolkit found it an easier and more comfortable experience than previous visits. One customer stated “The most significant change was that there’s a new comfort level that wasn’t there before. Whoever you talk to, you’ve got the confidence that they’re going to know how to better accommodate you instead of fumbling.” 92% of team members agreed the toolkit enabled them to successfully and confidently help customers with additional access needs.

  • Branch teams now feel they have the right awareness and tools – enabling better customer outcomes, reducing costly workarounds and improving productivity. “We always managed to get around things… but having the kit, it's less thinking in that regard because you have proper solutions that actually work.” CBA Branch Manager “I know from my whole CBA journey, getting customers to write or sign things, often we'll reprint a form 10 times and get them to keep re-signing because they might have a shake or whatever it might be. You know that that happens all the time. So having that signature guide there available for them to be able to stay within the line saves us from doing that.” CBA Branch Manager 99% of branch staff who participated in the pilot recommended the toolkit to other branches. “Allows every customer to be able to do their banking without boundaries.” CBA branch team member “The tool kit enhances our customers’ experience. It provides additional support to our clients that come in to do everyday banking but find it challenging.” CBA branch team member