Home > Mortgages > Could Rental Cats Threaten the Russian Economy?

Comments 2 Comments

Given the recent speculation that state-sponsored Russian hackers may be behind recent data breaches at major U.S. financial institutions, in retaliation for U.S. and EU sanctions proposed and imposed against Russia in the wake of the crisis in the Ukraine, we though it appropriate to take a closer look at Russian banking policies. In particular, one state-sponsored Russian bank has begun to employ a strategy which may in fact introduce far more economic instability than even the harshest sanctions could ever hope to accomplish. I speak of course, of the now infamous Russian free-cat-with-a-mortgage scheme.

As Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported…

Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, is offering to lend cats to customers who take out home mortgages. Yes, cats.

According to Russian superstition, letting a cat walk through your new home before you move in brings good luck. “Order a cat for your housewarming, and bring happiness and luck to your home,” the state-controlled bank says on a special Cat Delivery Service website it set up to promote the campaign. Customers can choose among 10 breeds, including tabbies, Siamese, and an exotic hairless cat resembling a sphinx.

Sure, a rented hairless sphinx cat may sound like the luckiest thing in the world, but unfortunately for these new Russian homeowners, the introduction of cats into their lives could lead to financial disaster, particularly if they transition from cat renters, to cat owners.

As Credit.com’s Director of Consumer Education Gerri Detweiler recently reported in her groundbreaking investigation, “My Cat Killed My Credit,” feline owners can face both emotional and financial trauma as a result of unexpected veterinary bills. The bills can run into the thousands. Detweiler covers one particularly troubling story of which new Russian homeowners should take note:

The only surviving kitten of her litter, Bodey was just a few hours old when Chris and Natasha Ashton brought her home in 2000. Not long afterward, she traveled with them from the UK to Philadelphia where both pursued MBA degrees at The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. But when she was just a year old, Bodey began ignoring her food. After extensive testing, she was diagnosed with anorexia, pneumonia and possible kidney problems – and the couple ended up owing more than $5,000 in medical bills for two weeks of intensive veterinary care.

That’s right, Russia. Take heed. If you’re not careful, the value of the ruble will be the least of your worries. Countless new homeowners could find themselves spending small fortunes trying to cure anorexic cats. That’s money that could otherwise be spent on things that could boost the Russian economy, like home renovations… or dogs. [Ed. note – Dogs are actually notorious credit-killers, too.]

This all-too-snarky article is quite obviously an op/ed contribution to Credit.com and does not represent the views of the company or its affiliates.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: xlibber

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

  • Cameron Huddleston

    This is great! My husband is Ukrainian, so I’ll definitely share it with him.

    • http://blog.credit.com/ Michael Schreiber

      Excellent!

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team