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ABA Launches New Multicultural and Financial Inclusion Training

New online courses to help bank employees meet the needs of increasingly diverse customer base and expand access to banking

WASHINGTON —

As part of the American Bankers Association’s ongoing commitment to financial inclusion, ABA today launched three new online courses for bank employees designed to enhance multicultural banking services, promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and reduce the number of unbanked in the country. 

The three courses, Culturally Respectful Customer Service, Conscious Bias, and Bank On: Opening the Door to Opportunity, are new additions to the ABA Frontline Compliance Training suite. The first two self-paced courses aim to strengthen how customer-facing bank employees serve clients of all backgrounds and to teach them how to successfully engage with an increasingly diverse customer base. The third course trains bank staff on how to effectively discuss the benefits of affordable and easy-to-use Bank On-certified accounts with potential customers. All of the courses are free to ABA members, and ABA is also offering the Bank On course free of charge to non-member banks interested in offering a Bank On account.  

“Banks across the country understand they are only as strong as the communities they serve, and they continue to prioritize investment in comprehensive programs that foster a diverse and inclusive environment for both employees and customers,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “These courses will help banks of all sizes remove barriers and cultivate a welcome environment for all. Focusing on these areas is not only the right thing to do for customers, but is also an opportunity for banks to strengthen community relationships and welcome new customers into the banking system.”

Culturally Respectful Customer Service will help banks’ customer-facing associates develop the empathy and sensitivity needed to successfully meet the expectations of a diverse set of clients. Those completing the course will learn how empathy is the foundation of inclusion, how to recognize potential biases in customer service scenarios, and how to identify appropriate responses to scenarios involving customers from a variety of backgrounds.

Conscious Bias will help banks’ customer-facing associates identify potential bias in their work and discover ways to approach such situations with self-reflection, coaching and solutions to change biased behaviors. 

“This training will help bank employees better serve the increasingly diverse customers they encounter every day,” said Naomi Mercer, ABA’s senior vice president of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion who supervised the development of the courses. “Bank employees want to do the right thing, and these courses give them the tools they need to confidently engage with customers of different backgrounds and meet their financial needs.”

Bank On: Opening the Door to Opportunity teaches frontline staff how to talk to consumers about the benefits of Bank On-certified accounts, which are safe, low-cost deposit accounts designed to improve affordable access to banking. These accounts are certified by the nonprofit organization Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, available in more than 40,000 branches nationwide, and typically have low or no fees or overdraft charges. Bankers participating in the course will understand what it means to be unbanked and how Bank On accounts address common reasons why Americans remain outside the banking system. The course can help banks that already offer a Bank On account communicate the benefits to potential customers. Banks considering certification can plan to use the course for employee training. It’s available for ABA members via the Frontline Compliance license agreement and at www.aba.com/bankontraining.

“Bank On accounts are making a meaningful difference in expanding access to the banking system and reducing the number of unbanked in the country,” said Nichols. “However, there are still too many people unaware that these affordable accounts exist. This course will help banks advise prospective customers on all of the account options available to them and why a Bank On account might fit their needs.”

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, ABA Frontline Compliance Training offers more than 140 courses on topics ranging from anti-money laundering to information security and privacy. More than 1,600 banks use ABA Frontline Compliance to keep their staff up-to-date, track progress, run reports prior to examinations and protect their bottom lines. Any employee at an ABA member bank can access the training. Approximately three million courses have been completed by bankers in the last 12 months alone. 

To register or to learn more about these and other Frontline courses, visit aba.com/frontline.

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About the American Bankers Association

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $24 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $19.9 trillion in deposits and extend $11.4 trillion in loans.

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