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ADA Requirements

Question: We're concerned about some of our depositors who are getting older, a few of whom have reverted to wheelchairs in recent months. And some have a hard time standing in line, or even standing at the teller's window when they come in to do their banking. We try to have them sit at a desk and then we walk to the teller line for them to do their transactions.

We'd like to put in a 'wheelchair window', where these customers could do their transactions comfortably. It would then be built to the specifications of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). My question is this. If we do alter our teller line to put one of these windows in, do we then have to change all of our entrances, doors, etc. to also meet the requirements of the ADA? Will we lose our grandfathered exception for the rest?

Answer: I wish my answer could have been more comforting. The experts in this field tell me that if you alter the teller line to meet ADA requirements, then you must be in total compliance with ADA, and you'd have to change all. Unless you're ready to do that, you may just want to continue to "desk-serve" those customers.

The other consideration at such a 'wheelchair window' is putting it at the teller line, making easy pickings for a 'jump-over' robber. It can be difficult to leap over ordinary tellers windows, as they are usually at a height that discourages that. But putting such a window on the teller line could be a big temptation for a take-over robbery because it provides easy access to the back of the teller area.

Copyright © 2004 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 14, No. 07, 10/04

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