(Yahoo Finance) Two weeks ago Jyske Bank, Denmark’s third-largest bank, shocked the world by offering mortgages with a negative interest rate. Put simply, the bank would effectively pay customers to borrow money. It’s a bit more complicated than that, however, as borrowers have to pay fees that offset the savings.
The news got loads of attention, as people struggled to wrap their heads around being paid for something they are supposed to be purchasing. Consumers around the world wanted in on the action.
The weekend following the negative mortgages announcement, Jyske Bank received 80-90 inquiries from Americans who wanted these viral mortgages.
It’s all been rather amusing for Jyske Bank and its housing economist Mikkel Høegh, who has had to deal with all the attention.
“What I have said to the Americans is that they have to have a Danish property to get such a loan,” Høegh told Yahoo Finance in an email. “Some of the Americans then asked if I could help them buying a property in Denmark. I can’t with that but we can help them with the funding if they get the house.”
Jyske Bank has had to do a lot of clarifying; there’s a widespread misconception that the bank is actually paying borrowers to take their money. First of all, the bank is not actually paying anyone; it is simply forgiving part of the loan each time a payment is made. A mortgage borrower is likely to end up paying Jyske back a little more than they borrowed, factoring in fees and charges associated with arranging the mortgage loan.
And the bank can afford to do this without losing money because it borrows at negative interest rates as well.
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