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App ensures confidentiality for banking clients with hearing disabilities

By Mina Mohit - Jan 17,2018 - Last updated at Jan 17,2018

Photo courtesy of Signcom

AMMAN — Under the implementation of the anti-discriminatory law for people with disabilities (Law No. 20 of 2017) enacted in September last year, banks in Jordan are set to have 24/7 live interpretation support for clients with hearing disabilities. 

This decision was made possible through the launch of the mobile application Signcom on Tuesday, which allows deaf and mute clients to use live video calls to privately communicate with bank tellers without having to be accompanied by a third person. 

“We are very happy to have this application. Deaf people can come to the banks and be served and treated like any other client. They can have their privacy without anyone knowing the type of account they have, how much money they own or what kind of loan they are applying for,” said Adli Kandah, director general of the Association of Banks in Jordan. 

The collaboration between the Amman-based Signcom and the Association of Banks in Jordan falls under the Central Bank of Jordan’s new financial inclusion strategy that aims to provide equal access to banking for all, Kandah told The Jordan Times over the phone. 

Banking clients with a hearing disability can use Signcom’s video relaying service for instant interpretation at no cost. 

“I don’t want the deaf to pay any penny for this service,” said Signcom CEO Raafat Al Saifi, emphasising that they face enough challenges in their daily lives.

The application’s business model seeks to place the financial onus on the organisation rather than the user. “The banks will have to buy the application and install it in their branches according to the needs of the population in their respective area,” added Kandah. 

Cairo Amman Bank was one of the first banks to register with Signcom and has already made the interpretation service available in five of its branches, including three in Amman, one in Irbid and one in Zarqa. 

“Step by step, we want to introduce the service to all other 24 banks in Jordan,” Kandah noted. 

In order to meet client demands, Signcom has employed 32 Jordanian sign-language interpreters, trained in English, Arabic and the American Sign Language, to be available for live customer-service support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

“We take privacy very seriously and the interpreters have been hired under a certain employment contract and code of ethics to respect and uphold the confidentiality of the user,” Saifi insisted.


The application, which has been successfully launched in banks, is not limited to the financial sector. “It can be installed in hospitals, airports, hotels, restaurants; it can be implemented by any organisation wishing to make their environment helpful, inclusive and accessible under their corporate social responsibility,” Saifi concluded. 

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