Until recently, the blind couldn't take advantage of the convenience of 24-hour automated teller machines because the machines didn't have instructions in Braille and bank officials were usually too busy to show blind people how to use them.
That's changing. Sears Savings Bank next month will complete the installation of Braille instructions on all 47 of its California ATMs. First Interstate Bancorp last fall mailed out Braille brochures depicting ATM keyboards to its 52 blind customers in California. And Bank of America tellers are demonstrating teller-machine use to blind customers when they come into B of A offices.
Robert Acosta, president of the California Council of the Blind, said his group is working with the banking industry to try to persuade all banks and savings and loans to "Braille" their ATMs.
"I've memorized the keyboard of B of A ATMs," Acosta said, "but Braille instructions will make them accessible to all blind people.
"We think the concept will spread. The banks want customers, whether they're blind or sighted."