The Bizarre Resurgence of Banks

In these uncertain economic times, it’s hard to find the right bank. Not the kind to keep your bills, but the kind to keep your coins. Collecting change can be a small and effective way to save some extra money over time. Often, a container filled with pennies, nickels and dimes can add up to hundreds of dollars over a couple years. That being the case, here’s a few innovative piggy banks from the Far East that can make saving change not only a worthwhile venture – but also a strange and surreal experience.

The Banpresto Facebank is as simple as its name. It’s a triangular bank with a small face in the center – featuring eyes, nose and mouth. But this gadget puts truth in the term “feeding the piggy bank”. When an individual waves a coin in front of the face, the eyes (equipped with sensors) see the delicious money and the mouth of the bank opens – allowing the user to slide the coin inside. Along with helping a person to save money, the Facebank is also enjoyably freaky looking (think the book of the dead from “Evil Dead 2” mixed with Belial from “Basket Case”). The Banpresto Facebank can hold up to 30 quarter-size coins, runs on four AAA batteries and is available in blue, red or white.

Another novel bank provides solutions to two common slacker problems in one convenient package. While the Dreams Money-Saving BanClock looks like a simple plastic cube, it is actually a tortuous device that forces people to get out of bed and save money – simultaneously! A user sets the alarm and, when it goes off, the only way to stop it is to insert a coin. This means, unless a person keeps a pile of change next to the bed, it’s impossible to snooze all morning long. By feeding the BanClock a quarter each morning, a person can save $25 before the bank is full. Perfect for parents of college graduates living at home while they “get on their feet”, the Dreams BanClock is available in five different colors (white, red, yellow, blue and black).

Remember those digital pets that were all the rage about ten years ago? They would start out as babies and then grow and evolve. Well, there’s a bank along those lines called the Bank of Life (Takaratomy Jinsei Ginkou). The bank features a LCD display on the front with a digital person representing the bank owner (you). The person starts out living the life of a poor man (when there’s no money in the bank) in a small apartment with flies everywhere. As change is collected and the bank fills up, the character can go on dates, get new clothes, and upgrade apartments – eventually living “a life of contentment” (if such a thing exists). And, when that happens, the user may actually even have a little money saved up to get a life of his or her own and stop staring at a bank.