A Bank in Russia Lends You a Cat When You Open a Mortgage


Gone are the days a bank gives you a toaster or a weekend in the Poconos when you open a mortgage. In Russia, at least one gives you a cat, for reasons that are murky at best and confounding at worst. In any case, it’s certainly not done for the good of the cat.

Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, recently started the program. It’s based on Russian superstition, which is a solid foundation for a large-scale banking operation. Apparently, letting a cat walk through your new home before you move in brings good luck.

Other Russian superstitions include: Never give unmarried girls a corner seat, never give knives or clocks or scarves as a present, and don’t take anything out of the house at night.

The cats are procured from — and this is rich — Sberbank employees, "who agreed to let their pets participate in special projects," bank spokeswoman Anastasia Vakhlamova told Bloomberg Businessweek.

We can imagine the companywide email that went out about that one.

Customers can choose one of 10 breeds, and they get to keep the cat for two hours. Try as we might, we can’t find the part on the website where it details that safety measures involved in letting a cat cross into an empty house for the first time, or whether the owners are there to supervise, or how thoroughly these vacant homes are cased for dangers. We don’t understand Russian. It must be there.

This video explains how it works. Unfortunately, we don’t think it works this way. We don’t think two Sberbank cat deliverymen drive around cats in a special delivery van, and we don’t think cats line the desks of Sberbank employees, who fist bump borrowers. This fairy tale is pretty to look at, but like most fairy tales, the reality is probably pretty dark.

What do you think? Is this crazy? Would you take this bank up on its offer? Let us know in the comments.

Via Bloomberg Businessweek

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