cat
catCreative Commons

Russia's Sberbank is giving free cats to customers who take out a housing loan from the lender, which is looking to boost its mortgage business with a gimmick.

Sberbank, which is one of the biggest banks in Russia, is offering a choice of 10 cats to mortgage buyers, who will get the pet delivered to their houses by a special delivery service.

Many Russians believe that it is good luck if cats are the first to enter a new home.

The felines on offer are Toffee, Apricot, Smoke, Kuzma, Knop, Timothy, Caesar, Sonia, Fedor and Caramel, according to the service website, KotoService.ru.

Sberbank cats on offer
Sberbankkotoservice.ru
Sberbank cats on offer
Sberbankkotoservice.ru

A video advertisement on the website shows a delivery van driver handing over a cat to a couple, who bought a new home. The white cat then enters the new house, making the couple excited.

However, customers have to return the cats after two hours. The homeowners also have to sign an agreement promising they will not harm the animal and taking responsibility for any possible catastrophe.

The bank is looking to cash in on the popular superstition in the country, which is experiencing a mortgage lending boom. The central bank earlier said the amount of mortgage lending in Russia in July was 35.6% higher than the same month last year.

Sberbank is one of the majority state-owned banks in Russia that is facing Western sanctions. Other banks troubled by the sanctions include Gazprombank, VTB and the Bank of Moscow.

Sanctions against Russia for its role in the Ukraine crisis have affected the country's lenders negatively, as they are banned from borrowing from Western financial markets.