Culture Lesson: In France, one must have a blood test to get a loan on a house.

At first blush, I was horrified - what kind of police state was I living in? But once it was explained to me, it suddenly made perfect sense. Let me see what you think:

In France, one does not 'mortgage' a house. I.e., when you buy a house, it is yours. It does not belong to a bank or lending company until the last payment is made, it is yours from day one. This is in contrast to, for example, the practice in the U.S., where missing even one payment theoretically allows the bank to take your house. In France, your house, because it really is yours, cannot be taken from you.

But what does happen is that you owe someone, specifically the bank, a whole pile of money, for which they have nothing to show except a piece of paper on which you have stated "I owe you a whole lot of money". Enter the insurance.

Because the bank has a huge amount riding on your ability to pay off the debt you have with them, they require you to take out insurance on that debt. Thus, if you are killed or incapacitated, they still get their money. But the insurer then has to decide how risky it is to insure you. One of the ways they check? Blood test. All the usuals, in fact - apparently someone looking for a small business loan had to have a full medical workup, and my friend said that her husband, who is slightly older than she, pays more per month on his part of the insurance than she does.

So the blood test goes from being a completely bizarre scary police state type thing, to being something you can understand, and even in some ways appreciate. Does the system work better? I don't know. But I know that a system that doesn't allow people to be thrown out of their homes must have something good going for it.

cat commented:
hey you a little blood test does not hurt that much unless you are full of achaol or drugs, right.
on Tue Aug 31 22:51:56 2004

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