News Release

New Jersey Department of
Banking and Insurance
Commissioner Holly C. Bakke

For Immediate Release: August 6, 2004

For Further Information:: Mary Cozzolino - (609) 292-5064

Banking and Insurance closes communication gap
Interpreters assist consumers who speak another language

TRENTON - Today the Department of Banking and Insurance announces a new program designed to tear down language barriers and make it possible for consumers to be heard in more than 150 languages.

The Department has contracted with Language Line Services, a national leader in providing over-the-phone interpretation from English into the caller's native language. The service is available through the Department's consumer line (1-800-446-SHOP) and its Camden and Newark offices.

"This new service enhances our ability to help consumers, regardless of their ethnic background or their ability to communicate effectively in English," Commissioner Holly C. Bakke said. "It is another tool at our disposal to make sure everyone can access the information they need.

When calling, consumers who speak languages other than English are prompted to identify the language they are most comfortable using, and a time that is most convenient for them to speak with an interpreter and a Department staff member. The staff member will then contact Language Line Services and a three-way conversation will ensue.

"We are committed to doing all we can to protect consumers in the marketplace and help them navigate the complex worlds of banking, insurance and real estate," Commissioner Bakke said. "With this interpreter service, our ability to understand and help consumers is further expanded."

Since the program began in July, the Department has fielded calls in Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish and Russian, among other languages.

The language translation is the newest tool the Department is using to help consumers understand the complexities of the banking, insurance and real estate industries. In 2004 the Department has also helped consumers in many other ways: