RussiaÕ only cat-based mortgage lender sanctioned by U.S. Treasury

U.S., E.U. up ante in standoff over pro-Russian separatists

You can still get a cat with your mortgage from Sberbank in Russia, you just can’t do business with them if you’re American.

Sberbank, which made HousingWire headlines Aug. 27 for its unique program of loaning cats to clients who buy one of their mortgage products – as odd and cute as it sounds – is on the list of businesses under sanction now by the U.S. government.

The list, which can be read here, is in part of ongoing U.S. and E.U. efforts to punish Russia for Russia's support of pro-Russian separatists in the Ukraine.

The Department of Treasury issued the following statement Friday morning.

“Due to continued Russian efforts to destabilize eastern Ukraine, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew today determined that persons operating within Russia’s defense and related materiel sector may now be subject to targeted sanctions under Executive Order 13662.  In addition, the U.S. Department of the Treasury today extended targeted financial sanctions to Russia’s largest bank, deepened existing sanctions on Russian financial institutions, expanded sanctions in Russia’s energy sector, and increased the number of sanctioned Russian entities in the energy and defense sectors.”   

Sberbank is Russia’s largest bank and mortgage lender.

The cat loan program was put in place as a marketing tool.

It’s based on a long-standing Russian superstition that it’s good luck for a cat to be the first to enter a person’s new home.

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