Imagine the scene: a man is in desperate need for money, but he can’t find anyone to help him. Just as he is about to give up hope, one benefactor steps forward. Someone offers to lend him the money that he needs, no questions asked. There is one condition, however. In exchange for the money, the man must offer up his eternal soul.
By this point, you are probably thinking that this all sounds too familiar. It is obviously a reference to the 16th century German legend of Faust, the man who sold his soul to the devil. If that is what you thought, you are mistaken. The scenario described above comes from the modern era, and it can be found not in the pages of German fiction, but in a bank in Latvia.
The financial crisis of 2008 hit some parts of the world harder than others. Latvia, in particular, struggled to regain its economic footing, prompting many entrepreneurs to step forward with creative ways to stimulate the economy.
One of these innovative thinkers is financier Viktor Mirosiichenko. He owns the Kontora Loan Company, specializing in providing financing to those who otherwise would not qualify for a loan.
If you find yourself in need of cash, you may qualify for a loan from Mirosiichenko. It isn’t difficult to qualify. There is no credit check. You don’t even have to provide your last name. All you have to do is sign a document entitled “Agreement,” in which you promise to repay the debt and pledge as collateral your eternal soul.
Judging from a 2009 story from Reuters, the going rate for a Latvian soul is less than $500 plus interest. Mirosiichenko said his company has been lending customers “up to 250 lats ($500) for between 1 and 90 days at a hefty interest rate.” About 200 people have made the pledge over a period of two months.
What happens if the loan is not repaid? Mirosiichenko said his company does not send debt collectors to get its money back. “If they don’t give it back, what can you do?” he said, dismissively. “They won’t have a soul, that’s all.”
While we are not suggesting that Mr. Mirosiichenko is in league with the devil, it is worth pointing out that if he is, borrowers may wish to consult with an attorney (not to mention, a good pastor). As reported in this story, anyone trying to sue the devil for breach of contract could run into some trouble with the courts.
Thanks to Neko Random for pointing toward this story.