M&T Bank Partners with Free Life Learning App to Help Customers With Autism and Developmental Disabilities

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BUFFALO – M&T Bank has announced that it will be the first US bank to partner with MagnusCards â„¢ by Magnusmode, a free application dedicated to making the world more accessible to people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities. The collaboration will create new digital guides that will provide visual cues and step-by-step instructions to help people access basic banking services. Available through the MagnusCards app, M&T Bank’s digital “card decks” are designed to increase banking accessibility for the autism and disability communities and are provided free to users.

“The launch of M&T Bank’s MagnusCards will help us create a more inclusive and welcoming bank and expand our capabilities to meet the unique needs of our diverse customer community,” said Sonny Sonnenstein, Chief Information Officer for Individuals, business and digital banking at M&T Bank. “We are delighted to be working with Magnusmode, not only because it is an inspiring local startup, but also because their product is incredibly intuitive and well designed to support our customers.

Guidance digitized by narration

Using digitized “decks of cards”, the MagnusCards â„¢ application guides users through tasks and activities that might otherwise seem difficult or overwhelming. As Magusmode’s premier U.S. banking partner, M&T Bank offers an expanding ‘life skills library’, which provides practical advice through storytelling card games helping users navigate day-to-day tasks and experiences, such as ATM transactions and using a debit card for purchases. It uses applied behavioral analysis methods, offering prompts and positive reinforcement to support experiential learning.

In addition to banking and money management services, the app provides accessibility assistance for public transportation, health care, shopping, school, and other places and activities that people need access as part of their daily life. Users of the app include people with autism, Down’s syndrome, acquired brain injury, dementia, ADHD, and other cognitive disabilities.

“Confusing or complex services can create barriers for people with autism and other cognitive disabilities. Our assistive technology helps businesses break down these barriers and welcome, support and assist people with autism and disabilities, ”said Nadia Hamilton, Founder and President of Magnusmode. “In M&T Bank, we have found partners who understand the importance of leveraging technology to create practical tools that improve everyone’s daily experiences. “

Advocacy for employees led the way

M & T’s Disability Advocacy Network (DAN), an employee-led group that advocates for the needs of people with disabilities, identified MagnusCards as a potential opportunity for the bank and guided its implementation and launch, working with the M&T technology team and colleagues across the bank. .

“Our MagnusCards will help people count money, use their debit card to buy things, withdraw money from an ATM or cashier, and deposit money and checks in a ATM machine, ”said David Zolnowski, president of the DAN chapter in western New York and a parent lawyer whose son has Down’s syndrome. “Each of these essential guides will be extremely helpful to people with disabilities. “

Family members with disabilities helped develop the product

Stephanie Tisdale, Member of WNY DAN, Vice President and Head of Strategic Initiatives at M&T, was also instrumental in the launch of M&T MagnusCards. She asked her 17-year-old brother, Diarllo, who has the autism spectrum, to serve as “acting talent” in the production of the visuals for the card games. While the request was a little outside his comfort zone, he jumped at the chance when he learned how his participation would help other people with disabilities.

“The Disability Advocacy Network wanted real people involved. We didn’t want actors, but people who would directly benefit from our collaboration with Magnusmode, ”Tisdale said. “My brother is never the type to be the center of attention, but when he heard it would help people, he was everywhere. It was inspiring to see Diarllo contribute to something so important. I want my brother to have the opportunity to live independently, to be able to access the services he needs and to feel in his place. The MagnusCards app will be so stimulating for him and all people with cognitive disabilities.

A new wave of digital banking tools

The launch of MagnusCards by M&T comes as part of the bank’s continued drive to provide innovative new digital tools and resources to help customers manage their money. Here are some highlights:

Money Smart Cash Flow – M&T has extended M&T Money Smart, the money budgeting and management tool available through its online and mobile banking platforms, with new features that help customers plan for the future. Cash Flow is a tool that allows users to view how money flows in and out of their accounts each month. It uses advanced analytics informed of past transactions to provide users with a simple view of their daily purchasing power. Money Smart Net Worth & Goals – Money Smart has also been updated with a Net Worth Tool to help users track financial worth in real time. It combines checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, investments, bonds, debt and more to display a visualization of net worth and how it has changed over time.

The Money Smart Goals tool helps users reach their savings, debt repayment, and retirement goals. It creates timelines and visualizations that update automatically as users invest money toward a savings goal or pay off debt. Financial Education Center – M&T has created an online financial education center to help clients and communities access educational resources that deepen their financial literacy. Its self-directed learning materials are organized into life-stage educational packages – such as Bank for Families, Homeownership, Bank for Entrepreneurs and others – to help people find the ideas and information they need. for the moment of their life. The Financial Education Center can be visited at mtb.com/financialeducation.

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