You Still Go to the Bank? Um, Why?

By Robert Freedman, senior editor, REALTOR® Magazine

If you didn’t grow up on Facebook than it’s probably a safe bet that going to the bank for you means actually going to the bank to make your deposit or your withdrawal or to apply for a loan.

But if you’re a member of the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union, it means logging into your account and doing whatever you have to do.

If you want to make a deposit, you fill out the online form and scan in the front and back of your check. No need to mail the check in.

Most desktop copy machines and printers today also function as scanners, so scanning is as easy as printing out a memo. And you can also buy a little desktop scanner that’s no bigger than a six-inch ruler.

Want to apply for a loan? Start by logging into your account.

I mention these admittedly prosaic banking tasks because I spent the morning at the offices of the REALTORS® Federal Credit Union, based in Rockville, Md., about a week ago and the friendly, professional staff there demonstrated how easy it is to get your banking done when you can do almost all of it from the convenience of your desk.

No doubt for your children, banking online will be as second nature as cultivating a virtual farm on Farmville. (If you have to ask, go here.) But for the rest of us, virtual banking takes a little getting used to. The key term, though, is little. It takes just a few minutes to understand how it works. Once you do, the idea of going to a bank to conduct business will seem like a big expenditure of resources—gas for the car, time away from your desk, making sure you’re leaving with your keys in your pocket, etc.

Of course, if you like the social aspect of getting out and seeing people, virtual banking doesn’t offer that (although you can certainly stop to chat with your acquaintances on your way to the closest participating ATM machine). So, admittedly, it can’t offer everything. But if you just want to get your banking done, it’s nice to be able to do it from your desk.

To introduce online banking to those of us who need such an introduction, the two-and-a-half minute video above gives you a great taste of how it works.

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is director of multimedia communications for the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. He can be reached at

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  1. I do my deposits online through RFCU and it is great, but the reason I still keep my bank account is because RFCU is way behind the times when it comes to paying bills.

    They do not offer Quicken Direct Connect. Quicken is the #1 personal finance software and literally thousands of banks offer Quicken Direct Connect.

    Please tell RFCU to catch up with the thousands of regular banks and offer this feature, and then I will no longer have to use my regular bank.

    By the way, I tried to use RFCU Web solution to pay my bills and it was not as convenient as Quicken Direct Connect.

  2. I am a huge fan of online banking. I had to be dragged into the virtual world kicking and screaming. I resisted it forever. When I finally gave up and gave it a try I was amazed at how much time I can save. I am sure I spent at least 25 hours per year driving to and from the bank last year. That is almost a whole work week that I now have back for myself.