It’s not uncommon for banks and mortgage lenders to offer special perks to customers who take out mortgages.
After all, a mortgage is somewhat of a commodity, despite there being many different types of loans and lenders out there, and varying levels of service.
For this reason, lenders are constantly looking for ways to separate themselves from the crowd.
Examples include the 1% cash back Chase offers to its mortgage holders, or Quicken’s Rate Drop Advantage, which protects borrowers if interest rates fall.
Many banks also offer on-time closing guarantees, which puts some money in the pockets of borrowers if the closing doesn’t happen on schedule.
But those all pale in comparison to what a Russian bank is offering.
Free Cats with Your Mortgage!
It’s a little hard to follow, given the fact that I don’t read or speak Russian. But the takeaway using Google Translate is that Sberbank is offering up “housewarming cats” to the first 30 customers who receive a mortgage approval with the bank.
The offer appears to be going on from August 18th until December 14th, and there are 10 cats to choose from.
You can see the cats on the website – they’re all named and vary in appearance, with Russian monikers like Sonia, Timothy, and Fedor. There’s even a hairless breed named Kuzma.
But here’s the strangest part. You don’t actually get to the keep the cat. It is simply brought to your new home or apartment for a short period of time before being returned back to headquarters.
Apparently the Russians are superstitious about new homes and it’s good luck if a cat enters the property first. So a delivery guy will show up and send the cat in to check things out before you step foot into the place.
Sberbank’s claim is that after the “trained cat” visits your property, you can be assured of happiness in your new home. It’s a play on a tradition their “wise forefathers” came up with that the bank says it has not forgotten.
Russia seems to be enjoying a bit of a mortgage boom at the moment, with lending up nearly 36% compared to a year earlier.
This gimmick aims to take advantage of that, and should prove to get a lot of free press, if my post is any indication.