The Internal Revenue Service has made it easier for consumers to electronically deposit tax refunds into checking and savings accounts, potentially providing banks with an inexpensive, dependable source of funds.

Last year, more than 10.4 million people received almost $13 billion in refunds via the agency's year-old direct-deposit program, according to IRS figures. That's still just a sliver of the nearly $100 billion that was refunded to 80 million filers last year.

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