Title of Article:Start the Banking Revolution Without Us
Author/Affiliation: Daniel McGinn
Publication: Newsweek
Date: May 8, 1995
Pages: 71

Summary: Bill Gates of Microsoft and Scott Cook of Intuit have plans for a "home banking" empire, a digital dreamland where consumers will be able to apply for loans, pay bills and buy mutual funds in the convenience of their own living room with click of the mouse. By 1998, analysts estimate that home bankers will number seven and one-half million. More than seven million people already own finance programs like Intuit's Quicken, which balances checkbooks, tracks investments and spits out spiffy graphs. Using these programs off-line can be a pain, requiring hours of reentering checks into the computer. Intuit's Scott Cook promises that the new technology will "make it easy to . . . make the best financial decisions" without having to leave home. By going on-line with their bank, consumers can eliminate some of the bookkeeping and automate bill-paying.

Presently on-line banking is attracting only a few fans among consumers, but experts are still touting its promise. Nearly everyone has a bank account and approximately one-third of U.S. households have a computer; thus the number of potential users is in the millions. Gates and Cook remain optimistic, their plans for the proposed merger of their companies have been placed on hold. The justice department's antitrust division has file a law suit against them (the article did not give indepth details regarding this lawsuit).

Implications: The idea of home banking has many implications for education and educators. As the idea of home banking is refined and utilized, and the cost of computers continue to decrease, I envision an array of possibilities. Visualize menu driven software that will allow educators to utilize this idea for educational purposes. Teachers and administrators send weekly and/or monthly newsletters to parents, report cards and notes or portfolios, and other correspondences. Why not eliminate the paper trail and use the computer to post all of this information including homework assignments? Parents can also use this as a vehicle to respond to teachers and voice concerns or ask questions regarding issues of importance or those that might need clarification.

Not all families are interested in the use of computers and may not rate them as a necessity for personal or school use. This problem can be solved by printing copies of the same information sent via computer and provide it for students who do not have access to the service. Alternatively, schools could work with public libraries and other public agencies to place computers in locations accessible to the public. This will allow the lines of communication to remain open and everyone will continue to be informed.

Wiladean R. Thomas