PITTSBURGH – Century Heritage FCU, one of 19 local institutions sued by a legally blind consumer over the ATM provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, has agreed to upgrade its ATMs over the next three months to provide adequate access to the blind in exchange for dismissal of a class action suit.
Under the terms of the June 6 deal, the $130-million credit union has agreed to perform the necessary work to upgrade its ATMs within 90 days. It will have a representative of the plaintiff in the suit, Robert Jahoda, certify the machines are in compliance with the provisions of the ADA, including that they are speech enabled and have tactile (raised) controls for touch and Braille instructions for initiating the speech mode. It is unclear how many ATMs the credit union owns but it operates three branches around Pittsburgh.
Century Heritage is one of 19 credit unions and banks, including USX FCU, that were sued by Jahoda in the weeks since the March 15 final implementation deadline for provisions of the disabilities law. The terms of the consent decree are similar to settlements Jahoda has reached in recent weeks with 1st National Community Bank, Charleroi Federal Savings Bank and Fidelity Bank.
Jahoda, who is legally blind, said he has somebody help him around to the different ATMs and will continue to monitor area machines to ensure they are ADA-compliant. The non-compliance, claims Jahoda, “threatens blind people with the loss of their private banking information. Blind people who wish to use certain of Defendant’s ATMs have no choice but to repeatedly reveal their private PINs to others to complete an ATM banking transaction.”
Officials at the credit union did not return a phone call seeking comment. The terms of the settlement bar them from discussing the case publicly.