Money Merge Accounts: Advice…That Makes A Difference

by Florida's #1 Mortgage Planner on November 8, 2008


"Advice…That Makes A Difference."  That is how this one email header that comes to me regularly now from an Money Merge Account (MMA) agent from United First Financial (U1st Financial).  Mind you that this email also violates the spam laws on several accounts, for one being that I never did anything to start receiving it, nor is there a way to unsubscribe contained within.

Now, I agree wholeheartedly with the headline of the email.  Advice does  make a difference, but the type of difference it makes depends on where you are getting your advice from.  Crappy advice yields a really crappy difference in your life and when it comes to your finances that is definitely not what you need.  Yet, that is exactly what you are getting from this gentleman sending the email, a biased approach to sell the latest "fad" product, the Money Merge Account.

What is really scary is that this gentleman also claims to be a CMP, or Certified Mortgage Planner.  CMP is a designation that Steven Marshall, one of the leading advocates of equity harvesting, developed as another mortgage planning designation.  However, Mr. Marshall recently succumbed to United First Financial’s marketing and endorsed the Money Merge Account and even placed an article in his Mortgage Planner Magazine, which reads more like an advertorial than an actual article if you have ever read it. 

Does this sound like the warnings I have mentioned in previous posts?  Keep reading…

So, now we have a gentleman with a "designation" as a mortgage planner to gain credibility.  Now he sells one product, at least based in this email, which goes largely opposite of what he should have learned in his training to obtain that designation, especially in regards to the rules of money.  He also should know that other strategies are far better than a Money Merge Account (or other mortgage acceleration program fro that matter) can be.  Yet, his email focuses on the MMA and even makes false or misleading statements to get you to call, the same statements reiterated over and over again by MMA sellers.

Here is the email body, de-identified to protect the guilty.

Greetings Robert, New MMA Mortgage Stimulation Package!

Click here to hear what people are saying.

Click here to see how it works!

Click here to see if your Mortgage qualifies!

It is important to remember to keep this in mind.  Our Clients are doing this without Refinancing their current Mortgage. They are doing it without increasing their loan payment by one dime. They are doing this with absolutely zero risk and with little to no change to their current lifestyle.

Again, the email gets your attention, builds credibility if you click through to the links, and then leads into the misinformation.  It is concise and designed to sucker you in and get you into the mindset that the MMA is the "magic pill" you have been waiting for.

But look closely at this statement…"without Refinancing their current Mortgage."  While that is true, it is very misleading because you need a HELOC, which is a second mortgage, to make it work.  So, in essence, you are refinancing your home.  Also, regarding the HELOC, good luck getting one these days, and don’t fall prey to their schemes to get you to get a personal line of credit, or even worse, use credit cards to make it work.  Each of those add to the problems with the program and are not viable solutions.

Next statement…"They are doing it without increasing their loan payment by one dime."  This is pure crap.  If you take out any money from a HELOC, you are adding to your loan payment, period, something that happens immediately because they charge the software to your HELOC to get you started.  It does not matter if you are using the HELCO as a checking account or not.  Add to that the fact that when you send money over to your primary mortgage when the software instructs you to, you have just increased your loan payment as well.

Final statement…"They are doing this with absolutely zero risk and with little to no change to their current lifestyle."  Everything carries risk, even paying off your home, so to say there is zero risk is even more crap.  As far as a change in your lifestyle goes, that is likely a false statement as well since any mortgage acceleration program works, including the Money Merge Account, by using discretionary income to pay down your first mortgage as fast as possible.  The real savings are in doing this, and very little comes from interest cancellation as they would lead you to believe.  So, when it comes to lifestyle changes, if you planned on using your money to pay off your mortgage anyway, then it is a true statement.  However, if you planned on using money for a vacation, retirement, etc., then it may very well be false or at least misleading.

"Advice…That Makes A Difference."  Truer words could not be spoken and that stresses the need to find the right advice.  This gentleman (and most MMA sellers) are not giving you the best advice, especially if they are using the statements such as the ones this gentleman uses in his email campaigns. 

I do not know how much else I can emphasize the need to find the right mortgage professional, one that looks at all solutions and strategies, and gives you the best one to meet your needs.  As you can see, designations mean nothing anymore in this industry, only a means to gain credibility even for those whom do not deserve it.  My new service aims at solving this problem, so stay tuned for its announcement in the coming month or so. 

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joel November 8, 2008 at 9:37 pm

HI Robert
Thanks for clarifying this whole confusion about the MMA System. There marketing is so misleading that even trained mortgage professionals can get confused that there might still be a way of getting a heloc somewhere.

What Steven marshal is saying about his endorsing this system is that sometime you will have a client who is not going to manage home equity the way we are trained ti facilitate then in that case we can use the MMA to help them do what they want.

I appreciate your post and I thank You


Joel Silberstein
Certified Mortgage Planner, CMPS

Late2Game November 20, 2008 at 10:49 am

Stubmled accross your website and have been impressed with your posts against MMA. It is sad that “designations” and the standards that should be upheld can be diluted from those that are either innumerate, ignorant, or worse by focusing on their own best interests (selling and recruiting).

Have you read Tracy Coenen’s blog on the MLM aspect of UFF? She recently posted a list of all their agents and Brian Topor (Agent #837057) is listed. He is the founder/publisher of Broker Banker Magazine that first published about the money merge account. I would hope Mr. Marshall has no such connections to UFF.

Florida's #1 Mortgage Planner December 23, 2008 at 10:32 am


I have not read Tracy’s post, but if you could email me a link, I would like to read it.

As for Broker/Banker Magazine, it is quite evident that their main intent is to sell the UFF MMA product, so it is no surprise that Brian Topor is an active agent. there are numerous accounts of conflicts of interest in the industry. While I do not know if Steven Marshall, Patrick Altman (supposed writer of article in Mortgage Planner Magazine), or even Barry Habib and his team are agents, but it would not surprise me in the least. I am certain they got significant cash for their endorsements and/or publishing articles to build the credibility of the UFF Money Merge Account product.

Nowadays, the latest fad to scam is loan modifications and we can see many of these gurus working their way into that arena. It is getting so bad that I will be launching a brand new service at the beginning of the year to address consumer concerns and you will be surprised to learn its cost, certain to be one of a kind.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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