Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance Policy

 
Mid South Bank’s (the “Bank”) Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Policy exists to document Bank’s compliance with ADA Title II and III regulations concerning effective communication – auxiliary aids and services and accessible design for ATMs and, and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act Standards for web content accessibility.
 
 
l.    POLICY OBJECTIVES
 
The Bank is committed to providing accessible services for disabled customers. The purpose of the Bank ADA Policy is to document Bank’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (‘ADA’) revised Title II and III regulations concerning Effective Communication - Auxiliary Aids and Services and Accessible Design for ATMs, and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 standards for web content accessibility guidelines.
 
ll.   DEFINITIONS
 
Accessible:  A site, facility, work environment, service, or program that is easy to approach, enter, operate, participate in, and/or use safely and with dignity by a person with a disability.
 
Americans with Disabilities Act (‘ADA’):  A comprehensive, federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disabilities in employment, state and local government programs and activities, public accommodations, transportation, and telecommunications. Title II of the ADA covers programs, activities, and services of public entities. Title III of the ADA applies to public accommodations, commercial facilities, and private entities offering certain examinations and courses.
 
Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (‘ADAAG’):  The scoping and technical requirements to be applied during the design, construction, and alteration of buildings and facilities covered by Titles II and III of the ADA to the extent required by regulations issued by Federal agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation.
 
2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design (‘the 2010 standards’):  Section 707 of the 2010 Standards adds specific technical requirements for speech output, privacy, tactilely-discernible input controls, display screens, and Braille instructions to the general accessibility requirements set out in the 1991 Standards. Machines shall be speech enabled and exceptions are provided that cover when audible tones are permitted, when advertisements or similar information are provided, and where speech synthesis cannot be supported. The 1991 Standards require these machines to be accessible to and independently usable by persons with visual impairments, but do not contain any technical specifications.
 
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ATM:  An automated teller machine (‘ATM’) is defined as an electronic Banking outlet which allows customers to complete basic transactions without the aid of a branch representative or teller.
 
Auxiliary Aids and Services:  Under Titles II and III of the ADA, this refers to a wide range of services and devices that promote effective communication or allow access to goods and services. This Policy specifically addresses telecommunications devices (TDD/TTY) for hearing or speech impaired persons.
 
Disability:  A physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of the major life activities of such individual.
 
HTML: Refers to hypertext mark-up language, a common mark-up language used to present webpages, directing the web browser how information should be structured and accessed
 
HTML tags:  Specific instructions understood by a screen reader. One type of HTML tag, called an “alt” tag (short for “alternative text”), is used to provide brief text descriptions of images that screen readers can understand and speak.  Another type of HTML tag, called a “longdesc” tag (short for “long description”), is used to provide long text descriptions that can be spoken by screen readers.
 
Public Accommodations: Entities that must comply with Title III and includes facilities whose operations affect commerce and fall within at least one of the following 12 categories: places of lodging,  establishments serving food or drink,  places of exhibition or entertainment, places of public gathering, sales or rental establishments, service establishments (which includes Banks),  public transportation terminals, depots, or stations,  places of public display or collection,  places of recreation, places of education, social service center establishments, and places of exercise or recreation.
 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (‘RA’):  A federal law that regulates services to those with the most severe handicaps, expanding  Federal responsibilities and research and training programs with respect to handicapped individuals.  Title V prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability by the federal government, federal contractors, by recipients of federal financial assistance, and in federally conducted programs and activities.
 
Section 508:  A section of the RA, enacted in 1998, which requires that electronic and information technology developed, procured, maintained, or used by the Federal government be accessible to people with disabilities. Section 508 also requires that individuals with disabilities who are members of the public seeking information or services from a Federal agency,  have access to and use of information and data that is comparable to that provided to the public who are not individuals with disabilities, unless an undue burden would be imposed on the agency."
 
screen reader:  A computer program that speaks written text. It allows a person to listen to the written text on a webpage or in a computer program. Screen readers read only text; they cannot describe pictures or other images, even if the images are pictures of text.
 
Webpage: an Internet-based document, usually in HTML format, that can contain a wide variety of information and multimedia content.
 
Website:  A collection of webpages that is hierarchically organized around a homepage.
 
 
lII. POLICY STATEMENT
 
It is the Bank’s policy to comply with the accessibility requirements of the ADA.   The Bank ADA Compliance Policy includes the following five components:
 
Compliance of Bank-owned ATMs with the communication elements of the 2010 Standards, as follows:
 
Privacy – ATMs will provide the same degree of privacy of input and output as is available to all customers.
Voice Guidance – ATMs will be speech enabled to service blind or visually impaired customers.  Operating instructions, transaction prompts, user input verification, error messages, output such as receipts (except for information that is displayed on an accessible screen), and displayed information shall be delivered in an accessible method.
Tactile Instructions – Tactile instructions will be available to initiate voice guidance features.
Input Device – Input device controls will be tactile-discernible, with key surfaces raised above the surrounding surfaces.
Numeric Keypads – Keypads will be arranged in a layout that complies with the 2010 Standards.
Function Keys – Function keys will contrast visually from their background surfaces and use tactile symbols.  Drive-up only ATMS are not required to comply with this feature.
Display Screen - Characters on the screen will be in a font and contrast that complies with the 2010 Standards, except for drive-up only ATMS.
 
Compliance of Bank-owned ATMs with structural elements of the 2010 Standards, as follows:
 
Height and Reach Ranges – ATMs will be within the adult height and reach ranges specified by the 2010 Standards.
Clear Floor or Ground Space – The area around the ATM will comply with the 2010 Standards, except for drive-up only ATMs.
 
Compliance with title ii and iii ADA elements regarding auxiliary aids and services for telephone assistance,  as follows:
 
Bank Call Center personnel will accept telecommunications services relay call services (TDD/TTY) from customers with disabilities during posted business hours. 
Bank Call Center personnel will respond to customers with disabilities using telecommunications services relay call services (TDD/TTY) during posted business hours.
Account-specific private customer information will be provided only after the customer is authenticated using the same identification tokens required of customers without disabilities.  The Bank will decline services if the customer cannot be authenticated.
 
Compliance with title ii and iii ADA elements regarding effective communication, as follows:
 
Customers with disabilities will be provided alternative document formats of customer-related forms, notices, and disclosures. 
Alternate document formats may include large print media, audio format, accessible electronic formats such as HTML, email, and screen readers, as feasible.
 
Compliance with section 508 RA ELEMENTS REGARDING WEB CONTENT accessibility guidelines:  The Bank is committed to making its public website and webpages more accessible to customers with disabilities. Customer-related online forms, disclosures, and notices will be:
 
Perceivable by all users by providing text alternatives such as descriptive HTML tags for non-text images, photographs, charts, and other customer-facing graphics, providing captions for videos and other online multi-media, making content easier to hear and see by incorporating screen-reader specific and other features that presents content in different ways, and ensuring that vision-impaired customers can manipulate fonts, colors, and brightness.
Operable by all users by making all functionality accessible from a keyboard, giving users sufficient time to read and use content, not using content that causes seizures, and helping users to navigate and find content.
 
IV. RESPONSIBILITIES
 
A.  Board of Directors:  The Board of Directors is responsible for the:
 
1.    Review and Approval.  The board of directors shall review the written ADA policy for compliance with the Title II, Title III, and the 2010 Standards of the ADA and ongoing efforts to comply with section 508 of the RA.
2.    Accountability and Expectations.  The Board of Directors will ensure the proper management of the Bank’s ADA Compliance Policy.  To this end, the Board of Directors has charged Executive Management with the responsibility to determine the necessary course of action to ensure adherence to appropriate laws and regulations in an effective and consistent manner for the entire organization.
 
B.      Executive Management.  Executive Management is responsible for:
 
1.       Ensuring Consistency. Executive Management will ensure that ADA compliance is governed by organizational policy and practices that are consistently applied.
2.       Enforcement.  Executive Management will ensure that understanding of and compliance with the ADA Compliance Policy is consistent across the institution’s operations.
 
C.  ADA Compliance Manager.  The ADA Compliance Manager is responsible for:
 
1.       Coordination of efforts to achieve compliance with Title II, Title III, and the 2010 Standards of the ADA and ongoing efforts to comply with section 508 of the RA the 2010 as approved by the Board of Directors and Executive Management.
2.       Establishing, maintaining, preparing, promoting, and measuring the effectiveness of the ADA Compliance Policy.
3.       Preparing, publishing, conducting, and monitoring employee training on ADA compliance.
4.       Periodically reporting the status of ADA compliance to Executive Management.
5.       Developing, implementing and maintaining any related Bank policies and procedures to ensure ADA compliance.
6.       Receiving and responding to customer complaints regarding ADA compliance in accordance with the Bank’s complaint procedures.
7.       Periodically auditing and inspecting or retaining appropriate third parties to do so to assure that ATMs and the Bank’s Website is in compliance with this policy and applicable law.
 
Vl.  ENFORCEMENT
 
No part of this policy should be interpreted as contravening or superseding any other legal and regulatory requirements placed upon the Bank.   Any conflicts should be submitted immediately to the Senior Operations Officer for further evaluation and/or subsequent submission to the Bank’s legal counsel.
 
VII.  AUDIT
 
ADA Compliance Manager shall inspect and audit for compliance with this policy no less frequently than annually.  Inspections of equipment and review of software shall be scheduled so that compliance with ADA for all ATMs can be ascertained.  If third party vendors are used for this function, such vendors shall be subject to the Bank’s normal due diligence process for such vendors.
 
VIII.  ADOPTION, REVIEW, AND AMENDMENTS
 
The Board of Directors of Bank has approved this policy this 12th day of June 2013.  The policy shall be reviewed periodically, consistent with Bank’s general policies.  Only the Board of Directors may amend this policy.