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: