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What you put into an IRA is cash and I'm pretty sure that you have to have earned income to be eligible to put the money in. So, for example, I write a check for my Roth Contribution in January and send it off to my mutual fund company that takes the money and puts in into the funds I specified. It's simply coming out of my bank account or MMF account or wherever I happen to have money and check-writing, although I suspect I could wire the money in or use a money order if I wanted to.

I wouldn't use a bank as a broker for investing in stocks though, but if I did, I'd go over to the customer service and say, "Hello, I'd like to set up an IRA with this bank. Can you help me do it?" I'm pretty sure most banks would jump on this since their brokerage businesses are still getting off the ground and there is nothing like fat comissions on stock trades.

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