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The future of banking in Welsh

Digitization has changed customer experiences, expectations and behaviours when receiving services and dealing with organisations; and banking is no exception. In recent years, there has been a huge increase in the number of people who are dealing with their bank through digital transactions and online.
 
What has all this meant for customers wishing to deal with their bank through the medium of Welsh? This is what the Commissioner wanted to find out, and she asked the public what were their impressions and experiences when trying to access Welsh language services by their bank.
 
There was a general feeling among customers that the Welsh language services were deteriorating. Many said that it was impossible to do any online banking in Welsh. Several said that the closure of branches had a negative impact on their ability to discuss their money in Welsh. Others said that Welsh language telephone banking services were inconsistent and that the service was not being promoted adequately.
 
No bank is currently offering a Welsh language online banking service or apps. And, despite all the possibilities of the digital revolution, it seems that the language has been left behind in these developments.
 
The Commissioner has established a forum with senior banking officers to discuss the way forward., and they have so far met half a dozen times. In these meetings they have heard from companies in other sectors how they have gone about to develop their Welsh language services.
 
What developments have been put in place or are in the pipeline?
 
It is early days, but we can announce that TSB is currently working with the Commissioner to develop a banking app that can offer a Welsh language service. When the app is launched within the next few months, it will be the first ever app which will allow customers to bank through the medium of Welsh on their mobile phone or tablet.
 
The Welsh language option on ATM machines has been around for a long time. But, the technology behind these machines is changing rapidly, and they are fast becoming sophisticated systems which remember customers’ details. In terms of language, this means they will remember the customer's preferred language and will offer service in that language by default. If you are banking with Santander, remember to set up Welsh as your language of your choice in the settings, and you will get a Welsh language service every time.
 
There is still some way to go to ensure an equal experience when dealing with Banks in Welsh and in English; but these are significant developments which can show the way for all banks.

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