OKLAHOMA CITY (12/28/09)--Tinker FCU is going beyond the legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act to help members with visual impairments. In February, Tinker FCU merged with a small credit union that serves individuals with visual impairments--The Associated Blind of Oklahoma/Texas FCU (ABOT FCU). Since the merger, Tinker employees have explored hardware and software technology to help members read disclosures, conduct their financial business independently and receive information about the accounts and services the credit unions offer. “We realized very quickly in the merger process that we were going to have to make some changes in the way we do things, in order to truly meet the needs of these members we had pledged to serve,” said Billie Houston, executive vice president and chief financial officer. “While we can offer them much more in the way of account and service options than their previous credit union was able to, we realized we must also be able to cater to their special needs, in order for them to be able to take advantage of what we offer. “It would be unfair to them to always have to depend on others to help them conduct their personal business,” Houston added. Tinker will install JAWS, a software program that can electronically read printed type and translate it to audio, at its branches next year. Marketing has also made its accounts and services brochures available in large print--both on the credit union’s Web site and internal Intranet system. About 10% of members read Braille, so the credit union is researching Braille options. Tinker employees also have received sensitivity training, conducted by the director of the Oklahoma League for the Blind. “We realized the steps we’re taking also will help many of our older members who may be experiencing sight problems simply due to their age,” Houston said. “We’re very happy to serve these members as they deserve, and our research and discussions have also led us into thinking about service to other members with special needs other than vision.” Tinker has $2 billion in assets.