“Equity Ninjas” Marketing Reverse Mortgages As Government Offering

"We’re positioning ourselves as equity ninjas. We’re going where the markets are going."

Darius Mirshahzadeh – Owner of Twin Capital Mortgage
Twin Capital Mortgage: Duo doubled revenue in one year

Unfortunately, they’ve landed in the reverse mortgage business.  ABC 7 in San Francisco aired a feature over the weekend about letters that local residents are receiving which appear to be from the government offering loans, in this case reverse mortgages.

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ABC 7 On Your Side spoke with a woman who received a letter in the mail with a government logo at the top and in bold letters the words, "government sponsored program." Then it says, "This special senior program is administrated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development."

But at the very bottom of the page, in print so small the vast majority of seniors could never read without magnification, it reads, "This offer is a private service and is not being made by an agency of the government."

The reporter goes to the private address and finds Twin Capital Mortgage.  When approached by the camera crew, employees are obviously nervous and refuse to speak with ABC 7.  The reporter is able to speak with one of the owners… this is an eye opening video, everyone needs to see.   

Marketing ploy disguised as government offer

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  • This is so frustrating. I do marketing for a reputable reverse mortgage lender. Because the company is reputable I stay within the absolute truth. It would be easier to get people to respond if I stepped out of line, but that would seriously damage the industry’s reputation. The problem is, people like the “equity ninjas” do the damage with or without you. Very sad.

  • Yank their FHA license. My mother in law received one that looked like a check, complete with eagles clutching arrows and even though she knows how it all works she still thought this was an offer from Uncle Sam offering a check for her use. HUD and the FHA officers need to be all over these types.

  • I would like to come out and state that our company made a huge mistake. The piece of marketing that aired on the news has not been in circulation for nearly two months and was simply a piece of marketing that our company was testing out.

    God knows we would never have done anything like this had we known it would elicit such a response. The news piece was fair however it is a strong showing of sensationalism as well. What the news piece fails to show is that the reporter was asked to turn off his camera’s and to leave our office over 6 times before we literally had to walk them out of the office.

    Our company is in the business of helping seniors. This is one of the reasons why 92% of our clients would highly recommend us to their peers. We are an example of a company that is being misrepresented by the media for making a bad decision and an honest mistake. I sincerely want to apologize to everyone in the reverse mortgage community, because we are a good company and we do wonderful things for our clients. We are simply guilty of making a marketing mistake.

    Regards,

    Darius Mirshahzadeh
    CEO
    Twin Capital Mortgage

  • It should also be noted that our company does not operate a call center environment as The Critic had mentioned. We follow in the best practices set forth by the RM Community and do 100% of our presentations as in home appointments. We do a thorough analysis of our clients financial situations before we make any type of recommendation for a reverse mortgage.

  • A mistake like that sets our industry back BIGTIME!!! Bad press of that magnitude kills our industry. You must stay on the foward side where you belong because there is more responsibility on the reverse mortgage side, including marketing. This type of mistake will set us back and sorry just does not cut it. Pretty stupid mistake. IDIOT!!!

  • less blue jean wearing mortgage pimps and more professionally attired, compliance oriented, technically focused reverse mortgage advisors will be a good thing for our business.

    Great job portraying our industry! Nothing like a great first impression…..

    I’d like to see you squeezed into a ninja costume…

  • I know I’m a LIAR: I said I was out of here–but I just couldn’t help my self. Than God (or Allah) or what ever else one prays to (money maybe like that famous one, WEALTHONE). At least, Mr. Darius Mirshahzadeh has the GUTS to write on RMD using his
    own and Company name. Right up front–admitting his Company’s mistakes and asking for forgiveness and
    promising to mend his ways. (You better, Mr. Mirshahzadeh–Wow, try writing that handle on a FHA HECM Application a few times!!–deception is a poor marketing tool.) Not like a number of writers on RMD who don’t have the intellectual courage to put their real name on their comments, including you and especially you, Mr Critic. You truly write some outstanding comments. I’d like to know who you are. What is it you feel you have to hide and why?

  • Just about everyone in the reverse mortgage industry has run into this kind of marketing before. And the problem was not just how the press was handled but it is a misleading mail piece. And I am definitely not convinced that they did not realize that it was misleading.
    As an industry, we need to address this issue. I am continually getting offers of leads from sources that use illegal methods. In this tight market it is easy to understand why some companies will take up the offers. Some don’t know better but often it is just worth the risk, they get the business and there are generally no consequences.
    As lenders and brokers we don’t like to report one of our own to a state or federal agency. We may make a mistake ourselves, it is easy to miss a technicality. But there is a difference between a technical error and truly misleading advertising. Where is NRMLA?

  • Target! I am wearing a target on my back every time I go to an appointment with a senior. How can we present ourselves as professionals when we are dragging behind us every cheap marketing trick in the book? I may not use those tricks, but that’s how I am seen by the seniors I want to serve. Okay, NRMLA! Where’s the credential program? I am ready to sign on the dotted line. Anything to distance myself from this endless stream of botched and shoddy advertising and sales tactics.

  • I don’t understand why Mr. Nelson feels compelled to constantly dig at every little point that is brought up on a site that I gather great information from. I thought it was funny what Wealthone said and I’m sure he was only being as honest as you applaud Mr. Mirshahzadeh for being in saying it was a mistake. I will pray for you tonight Mr. Nelson as I believe you mean well but your heart is empty. I also salute your family’s service to our country but I don’t agreed with your attacks or your language. This is not how I want my industry represented. My name is Amy Marshall from Maine.

  • Mr. Nelson,

    A blog does not typically have real names. We all work and live in the RM community, and sometimes our ideas confilct with employer beliefs or are even controversial in nature. By using a blog, even “the dreaded Peter Bell” can comment innocently. I do not always agree with the Critic, but I respect his or her right to privacy.

    Signed,
    KidReverse!

  • BTW, Mr. Mirshahzadeh was not being noble by admitting a mistake. He created a corporate advertisement that was SUPPOSED to look like a government ad. It completely backfired, then he mis-handled the press, and now his company has been called out on a blog devoted to RMs. At this point, he is simply doing damage control. Any smart CEO would do the same, but an ethical CEO would never have released such an ad.

  • I still think it’s amazing the man had the guts to blog using his own and Company name; what his Company did was inexcuseable. As far as my heart being empty Ms. Amy Marshall, I assure you it is not–my head is something else, sometimes. The other day my logger days took over. As far as Mr. Peter Pan/Tinker Bell, I’m sure he can hold his own in
    the give and take of RMD. I’m sure he a decent fellow. “Kid Reverse” (How old are you anyway?) I really don’t respect anyone who feels it necessary to hide behind an alias. Sorry I’m a Great Depression Baby (You young folks may soon learn what that was like) and I was taught if you can’t attach your name to what you say or write, best not contribute or others might think you’re trying to hide something. Mr. Critic is a thoughtful, wise and beautiful writer. His comments, along with many others, make this Site extremely valuable and meaningful. Feel free to Give me a call, friend (I’ll even pay for it.) 1-800-482-5790. I promise not to bite. Actually, the last few days have been filled with demanding work (1) attemping to help an 80 year old Senior with a 69 year old wife in a 1977 manufactured home (whose FHA Tags are missing) remain in his abode with an FHA HECM. The man may not have enough equity to qualify, considering foundation work may be required. He would like to pass with his wife able to remain in the home without having to worry about a house payment. When He refinanced last year the Mortgage Broker told him a Reverse Mortgage was not possible on a Manufactured Home. (2) attempting to help a sick Oregon State Veteran ( Severe Colon Cancer) secure an FHA HECM so he can pass without worrying about his Wife being forced off their property (After living on the place for over ten years, he has learned he does not have what is called “Legal Egress”. I’m now trying to find an Oregon State Lawyer who will take his case with little money up front and, finally, (3) helping a Husband convince a skeptal Wife that an FHA HECM is a Godsend for them. The man is tired of making an amost $4,000 a month house payment and just would like to spend the last year(s) of his life without the stress. The Wife, who loves her husband of 40 years very much,
    just had to be shown the benefits. I believe we succeeded. By the way, I also learned the National Broker I signed my wife up with no longer does Manufactured Homes–too much work. Hell, I thought our job was about helping Seniors. Messing with this little blog is merely child’s play, sorry.

  • Mr. Nelson,

    I enjoy your comments most of the time. Although, you need to stop thinking you know everything…at least lately you seem to be coming off this way.
    Using an alias is what blogging is all about?? (As “Kidreverse” noted). You are able to be anonymous and say your honest opinions(without possible repercussions).

    You should respect everyone regardless of their name…its too bad you feel this way. It has nothing to do with you growing up as a great depression baby?? Also, why does it matter how old someone is (as you noted about Kidreverse). Sounds like you have some discriminatory issues? I certainly hope I am wrong because everyone in our industry needs to be perfect…like me : )

    good day

  • When one reaches my age (70) Mr. John Doe, the only thing one knows for sure is one Doesn’t know everthing. In my opinion, to truly be a successful FHA HECM Loan Originator, totally focused on “helping” a Senior homeowner and not just his pocketbook, it helps for one to be familiar with the genuine human
    issues faced by Seniors. Empathy with a desire to solve problems is mandatory. The aging process is a sure way, generally, to secure those attributes. A young person can be just as effective as someone my age, perhaps; but frankly, Though I’m new to the Industry, I haven’t witnessed many young people who knew a clue about the real challenges facing Seniors. Sorry. As far as age discrimination, tell that to many Seniors (including my Wife) who are trying to find a job right now. You’ll never change my mind about using an alias; You should always be proud to sign your name to whatever you write. Some of you need to take a course in DUTY, HONOR, and COUNTRY. Thank you “Kidreverse”: Son, you have one (among others I’m sure) outstanding trait–Energy, which Oldtimers like me are short of. You could help a lot of Seniors save or stay in their homes if you’ll always remember to keep their interests first and your desire to make money second.

  • I would like to make a comment concerning Mr. Nelson or Jim as I call him. I proudly call this man my friend.
    I will be the first to say, at times Jim can use language that can be offending. (watch your mouth Jim) But I can also tell you about the character of Mr. Nelson.
    He loves his Country, his family, and lives his life following the Golden Rule. I have worked with Jim in the RM industry for a couple years now. I was immediately impressed with his up front, no nonsense, honest personality. I never have to question his honesty and integrity. More than ANYONE else I have seen in this industry he truly feels for the seniors and will go the extra mile. I have personally witnessed brokers passing on leads where the value is too low or they feel there are too many conditions to be met. These are people that really need our help. Jim understands this being a senior himself, and has more compassion dealing with these situations than anyone else I have met so far in this industry.
    As for the comments stating that Jim’s service to his country and depression era mentality are not relevent…I beg to differ. I am the VERY proud daughter of a career AF WWll vet. The lessons of honesty, integrity, love of country, and family are my core and reflect not only in my personel life but also my professional life.We could all learn a great deal from this generation.
    I think we could all agree that the integrity of our industry has been tarnished. Jim and I have personally witnessed not only homeowners being handled in a dishonest and unprofessional manner but also loan officers who have suffered due to greed. We have witnessed the “bottom of the food chain” in our industry. I personally was not paid on loans by a previous broker and then to add insult to injury was sent a 1099 for the loans I was paid on. Yes, it was reported to HUD.
    I appreciate this site and have learned so much from the articles and comments. So in closing I ask that you really listen to what Mr. Nelson is saying. Basically what he is asking for is true transparency, honesty, and integrity in our industry. I can honestly say, if I were not in the industry, and I was going to refer someone for a RM Mr. Nelson would be my choice. I would never have to question the honesty, compassion, and integrity he would handle the client with.
    As for the comment saying Mr. Nelson has an empty heart. I am sure Mr. Nelson will appreciate your prayers. We could all use extra prayers during these trying times but I can assure you…Mr. Nelson has a very generous, loving heart. I have witnessed this time after time.

  • As I noted I enjoy Mr. Nelson’s comments. I am not trying to pile onto the many comments about Mr. Nelson and I appreciate his input and blogs.
    In regards to my comments about Mr. Nelson being a Great Depression baby. He says “I really don’t respect anyone who feels it necessary to hide behind an alias. Sorry I’m a Great Depression Baby (You young folks may soon learn what that was like) and I was taught if you can’t attach your name to what you say or write, best not contribute or others might think you’re trying to hide something”. This is his own discriminatory issue, its not something every person during that time has etched into their thought process. It has nothing to do with being a Great Depression baby? I missed where anyone said anything about his service to this county being a bad thing? Its wonderful and respectful abosolutely! Although, it doesn’t mean his opinions are anymore valid than mine or others posting on this blog…in my opinion.

  • Mr. Nelson,

    Thank you for the compliment. I do have energy, and occasionally I display other good traits as well. I also wanted to let you know that although I have originated a ton of reverse mortgages, I am no longer an originator. I now market reverse mortgages, for my company, and train new reverse mortgage originators. Yeah, I saw you your brow go up from across the US!

    You seem like a good guy who has all the best intentions, and I understand your position, a person’s name is the ultimate “good or bad credit”. Most likely we will meet in person some day (it’s a small industry), I will have a pre-formed opinion of you, good or bad, I will have one. You on the other hand will be meeting a new person and forming an opinion on what I give you. Now do you see how an alias on a site like RMD could benefit me?

    Finally, I always do what is right for the senior, paycheck or not, marketer or originator. I have been taught the motto “always do what is best for the senior and the money will follow”. I have stuck to it, and it had made me money more times than it has lost. I look forward to meeting you, maybe I’ll even let my identity slip?

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