The Welsh Language Commissioner has published a statutory review report on the use of the Welsh language by high street banks. The report presents eight recommendations on how banks can provide better Welsh language services to their customers in Wales.
The Commissioner conducted the review under Part 2 of the Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 after seeing a significant increase in the number of complaints from members of the public about the lack of Welsh language services by banks. The report stems from the responses she received to a call for evidence from members of the public and from interviews with senior officers at the banks.
Launching the report today, the Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws, said:
"Historically, the banking sector was progressive in recognising the value of providing services to individuals, businesses and organisations through the medium of Welsh.
“However, in recent months and years the Welsh language services seem to have been degraded. The banks have taken a step backwards rather than forward in terms of using the Welsh language; and they haven’t included the language in any of the innovative developments which are rapidly replacing the traditional banking methods.
"This review was held in order to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the Welsh language services offered by high street banks. More significantly, perhaps, it also identifies the opportunities for them to develop new services and be innovative in meeting the language choice of their customers.”
Based on the conclusions of the review, the Commissioner presents eight recommendations to the banks. The recommendations include the need for them to review their language policies and prepare new ones, set a timetable for establishing Welsh language services for online banking and mobile banking apps, publish information on their websites in Welsh, make a statement regarding the Welsh language services that are available and standardise the use of the Welsh language across their branches.
The Commissioner added:
"This report is in fact a starting point, and I will use it as a basis to work positively with the banks to ensure that they provide robust Welsh language services to customers in Wales.”