From time to time you'll see banks offering different bonuses and perks along with a mortgage to encourage new applications. In Russia, the largest bank called SBRCY (Sberbank) is now offering a cat to its new clients as part of a promotional campaign.
You don't get to keep the cat, however, since it's only loaned out for two hours. Clients are able to choose their favorite kitty from 10 different cats with names such as Caramel and Caesar. Once the two hours is up the cats are taken back to their homes. It's considered good luck in Russia if a cat first enters a new dwelling before the owners do. The cat goes into the house before the owners to bring about good fortune. There isn't a huge celebration that goes along with it either. The cat simply makes its way into the house followed by the owners.
There are only 30 mortgages being offered with this special perk and some clients have already signed up and used the cats. This bonus is coming from a huge Russian bank that serves more than half of the population in the country. Due to heavy sanctions that have been put into place against Russia recently, the bank has seen its shares plummet 28% since the beginning of 2014.
This promotion may be a way of presenting a warmer banking image to its customers. Since the cat bonus has been introduced, there's been a log of social media buzz about it. As you can imagine, not all of the feedback has been positive.
While there are special introductory promotions offered by banks here in Calgary for mortgages from time to time, this unusual cat promotion seems to be the most unusual one we have seen yet from any part of the world!