Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Devil and Chase Bank?

Remember the classic story The Devil and Daniel Webster? An unlucky New Hampshire farmer sells his soul for prosperity but doesn't want to pay up when the contract is due. The devil agrees to a trial and the farmer is defended by orator Daniel Webster. That's fiction.

This is real life. People in Latvia are offering their souls as collateral for loans. Reuters News reports that in the European Union nation of Latvia, unemployment is soaring and banks have sharply reduced their lending, meaning that small companies offering easy loans in small amounts have become more popular.
The Kontora loan company in Latvia made a special offer. The borrowers can sign a contract, with the words "Agreement" in bold letters at the top. The client agrees to the collateral, "that is, my immortal soul."

Viktor Mirosiichenko, 34 representing Kontora says it would not employ debt collectors to get its money back if people refused to repay, and promised no physical violence. Signatories only have to give their first name and do not show any documents.

"If they don't give it back, what can you do? They won't have a soul, that's all," he told Reuters in a basement office, with one desk, a computer and three chairs.

Wearing sunglasses, a black suit and a white shirt (fitting outfit for a soul man), he reaches into his pocket and lays out a sheaf of notes on the table to show that the business is serious and not a joke.

Mirosiichenko said his company was basically trusting people to repay the small amounts they borrowed, which has so far been up to 250 lats ($500) for between 1 and 90 days at a hefty interest rate.

He said about 200 people had taken out loans.

So it will be possible that some souless peeps may soon be walking around in Latvia. Does this mean they are zombies or that they can't dance? I hope they have some sharp Daniel Webster type attorneys in Latvia.

Can you imagine a bank like Chase making this offer? Can you imagine anyone taking it here?

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