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July 30, 2007


Filed under: banks, Bill Bickel, CIDU, comic strips, comics, Crankshaft, humor, passbooks, Tom Batiuk — Cidu Bill @ 12:00 pm


Okay, we’ve already established the fact that I’m old, but… not only do I have a passbook account at the local bank, but so does my 14-year-old.

Is Tom Batiuk going a bit overboard on the hyperbole, or am I out of touch with reality?


  1. Yeah, I think he’s going a little overboard. I am (probably according to Batiuk) a dumb, tacky, ignorant young person, yet I had one of these accounts when I was a teenager (I didn’t need to withdraw money often, and I liked the no minimum balance).

    Comment by Kiki — July 30, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

  2. Well I’m 25, but generally very aware of older movies, TV shows, bands, and other such references (I got the “bat like me” comic, for example). That being said, I have not a clue what the hell a “passbook” is. If it weren’t for the setting of the comic (and your comment below it) I would have had no idea it even had anything to do with a bank.

    Comment by Count Shrimpula — July 30, 2007 @ 1:24 pm

  3. Until recently, I’ve always heard it called a “bankbook” — I don’t know whether it’s a regional thing (I don’t live where I grew up) or one of those gratuitous name-changes like calling nursery schools “preschools.”

    Comment by Cidu Bill — July 30, 2007 @ 1:32 pm


    “A passbook or bankbook is a paper book used to record bank transactions on a deposit account. Depending on the country or the financial institution, it can be of the dimensions of a chequebook or a passport.

    Traditionally, a passbook is used for accounts with a low transaction volume, such as a savings account. In the early days of banking, the bank teller would write, by hand, the date and amount of the transaction, the updated balance, and enter his or her initials. Today, a small dot matrix or inkjet printer updates the passbook at the account holder’s convenience, either at an automated teller machine, a self-service printer (similar to an ATM), or at a local branch.

    For people who feel uneasy with telephone or online banking, this is an alternative to obtain, in real-time, the account activity without waiting for a bank statement. However, contrary to the bank statement, the passbook offers fewer details, replacing easy-to-understand descriptions with short codes, also known as mnemonics.”

    Comment by Rasheed — July 30, 2007 @ 1:55 pm

  5. Long ago and in a galaxy far far away , all bank accounts came with passbooks (or bankbooks). No you can still get one, but you have to specifically request it.

    Comment by Nicole — July 30, 2007 @ 2:00 pm

  6. I’ve never heard the term “passbook” and I’m 29. Is it regional at all? I’ve lived in Florida/Georgia all my life…

    Savings accounts and such I’ve both heard of and had myself, but maybe I just didn’t do enough with them to have come across the term?

    Comment by dd — July 30, 2007 @ 2:06 pm

  7. It seems almost like a companion piece to the ‘Zits’ cartoon where Pierce inspires awe by calculating change in his head…

    Comment by Brian Leahy — July 30, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

  8. Heard the term when I opened my first bank account decades ago. Never heard it again since.

    Somehow it’s funny that what was common to one generation is unknown to another.

    Comment by ctdonath — July 30, 2007 @ 8:06 pm

  9. I used to have a passbook account, but I haven’t seen (or needed, or missed) one in 25 years.

    Comment by brien — July 30, 2007 @ 11:44 pm

  10. Um, excuse me, but what is “local bank”?

    Comment by solarrhino — July 31, 2007 @ 1:38 am

  11. And where’s the plexiglass security shield between the tellers and the customers?

    Comment by Hunt — July 31, 2007 @ 8:52 am

  12. Ok, well a “bankbook” I’ve heard of. I’ve never used one, but I’ve at least heard of it.

    Comment by Count Shrimpula — July 31, 2007 @ 8:59 am

  13. Here in Japan, all the ATM’s have two slots–one for your bank card, and another for your passbook. Whenever you insert the book (it’s optional) the machine will update it for you. They’re even smart enough to turn the page if necessary.

    BTW, checks are totally unknown here. Everybody uses cash. I often have to explain the U.S. checking system to people.

    Comment by David H. — August 1, 2007 @ 3:33 pm

  14. To respond to Hunt – the banks in Ohio (big city, not rural) I frequent do not use plexiglass nor do they have anything between the teller and the customer. The banks I used to frequent in Florida did. I hated that glass. So I’d wager that’s a regional thing.

    I also happen to be 33 (living most of my life in Ohio) and have never heard the term passbook. Nor have I ever had a teller manually enter anything in the book given to me with my account, even though my first account was opened when I was about 10.

    Comment by Tina — August 2, 2007 @ 3:42 am

  15. I’ve got to say… I’ve never heard of a passbook or bankbook. I’ve seen a lot of weird things, holdovers from the last generations; I hang with my grandmother frequently, as her health is deteriorating, and I have helped her with her finances; no bankbook there.

    I’m wondering if this is more of a regional thing, or something some banks did. Or some other reasonable explanation for why some people say, ‘oh, yes, of course,’ and others have never heard of it.

    It could be a generational gap, I suppose, but then it’s just ridiculous.

    Comment by Steve — August 2, 2007 @ 9:27 am

  16. I got passbook accounts for all of my children when they were growing up, starting about 30 years ago. At that time the teller would put the passbook into a typewriter, make the changes and initial it. About ten years ago, we changed banks and those still at home got passbook accounts again but now the passbooks were put into a printer that updated them. We had them right up until a couple of years ago when there was yet another bank merger and we decided to close all the accounts, joined a credit union that is over a hundred miles away, has no local branches and we do all of our banking online, so I DO get the joke.

    For all I know, you can still get them. I’m in Philadelphia, so rurality isn’t a factor but maybe regionality is.

    Comment by Lola — August 2, 2007 @ 11:31 am

  17. You can still get a bank book, or
    a “passbook” (yeah, I remember the
    term), but the scene in the comic
    is not far fetched. I deposited
    a check in my mother in law’s account for her once and couldn’t
    find a deposit slip in the bank.
    I mentioned this to the teller, who
    looked at the check, saw that the
    account number was written on it and prossessed the transaction without saying a word. Service
    with a snarl, you might say. This
    is a well known bank that advertises around the country and
    issues credit cards.

    Comment by Robert Warden — August 13, 2007 @ 9:28 pm

  18. When I see comics like this, I figure the cartoonist is simply relating a recent event in his/her own life. It happened…seemed funny…drew it. Not meant to be funny so much, but worth sharing.

    Comment by Tim — August 22, 2007 @ 11:46 am

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