Hayes Barnard, Paramount Equity Mortgage and advertising lies

Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity fined about $400,000 for violations

This is not a photo of Hayes Barnard of Paramount Equity Mortgage, who was fined $400,000

You’ll notice I didn’t write “Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity Lie.” No, I parsed the language (quite cleverly, if I say so myself). It leads you to believe something a bit different than what’s actually written.

It’s kind of like the radio commercials of Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity Mortgage.

If you’ve never heard these spots, count your blessings. However, Mr. Barnard and his company are still eligible to do business in my state, Washington. They’re on the radio constantly. And that’s a shame. Because you can plainly see what Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity were accused of by the Washington Department of Financial Institutions. Following another link, you can plainly see that Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity paid about $400,000 in fines for a variety of violations.

If you’ve heard the Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity Mortgage radio commercials, you’ve probably wondered how he can say all those things — they just sound too good to be true. Turns out, they were too good to be true. Yet he’s back at it. This time, he’s a little more clever. He does step in it a bit when he say he’s dedicated to saving his neighbors money. Neighbors? Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity are located in Roseville, California. We’re in Spokane, 800 miles away. Do they run these spots elsewhere, or do they believe that residents of Eastern Washington are particularly gullible?

Those who participate in the time-honored practice of sleazy advertising, beware. We, the public, now have stuff that helps us catch on. Stuff like… Google. And blogs. And social media.  One of my fondest wishes is that this blog post ranks high in Google searches for “Hayes Barnard” and “Paramount Equity Mortgage,” so people can know what these guys are all about, and invest time and money in their “services.”

Those of you honest marketers: I urge you to join me in removing this stench. You can help by linking to this page. You can help by posting your own blog report. You can help by tweeting. Many thanks!

Added Feb. 15 2011: For another take, read this post on Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity Mortgage’s violations and penalties.

21 thoughts on “Hayes Barnard, Paramount Equity Mortgage and advertising lies

  1. This is just 1 example of deceptive lending practices from 1 of many deceptive lenders. It’s your money, do the reaserch, read your contract, compare! A lender should make money for their service and there have always been hidden fees. Keep in mind when they were accepting stated income statements with out verification ther were many boweres not being truthful about their income. Verify all your financial dealings before signing. If what is in the contract differs from what is said then believe the contract and fire the broker.

  2. Martin, one of the things the WA Dept of Financial Institutions is a stickler for is the word “free”, used in the context of a negotiated price. A free appraisal? Hell no, you’re paying points — the cost is built in! I believe Paramount Equity Mortgage was fast and loose with “free.”

  3. In the spirit of honesty, I want to disclose that I am a competitor of Paramount. That said, listening to his awful commercials gets my blood boiling. The worst part is that he obviously makes enough money with these misleading statements to pay the fines… cost of doing (dishonest) business, I guess. Thank you for bringing this to light!

    • Thanks Richard, it makes my blood boil too. You’re not alone in your analysis of his strategy. Ohers (who know more about this stuff than I) tell me the penalties he’s paid don’t even come close to the profit he’s made. He should have lost his license, not gotten a slap on the wrist.

  4. Barrett –

    Do you happen to know whether these ads were placed specifically on local stations as a local buy (i.e., advertising sold by Spokane radio reps) or are they part of a network or syndicated radio buy (in which case the local stations would be out of the loop)?

    Haven’t heard any of them – at least none that have made an impression – and I’m a longtime radio ad guy.

    I’d like to hear an example or two. I hate sleazy advertising and despise those who prey on the naive or gullible, whether it’s shoddy lending deals, nutritional supplements, medical nostrums of dubious value, “credit repair,” or naming-a-star-for-a-loved-one.

    -Rod Schwartz

    • Rod: Some of the commercials have a local plug. My educated guess is that Paramount Equity runs regional versions of any given spot in multiple markets. (E.g., in one version he says he wants to save his “Spokane neighbors” money. No doubt he want to save his Roseville neighbors, his Sacramento neighbors, etc.) This is a common practice.

      If you listen to talk radio, he’s been blanketing the airwaves for at least the past month, after what seems to have been a strategic retreat for the past year and a half.

  5. I don’t think the fact that Paramount is now establishing a new office in Spokane has much to do with years of misleading advertising. Why didn’t you use your real name and contact info so we can discuss it rationally?

    If you have a good argument, please make it. Cheers!

  6. Thanks for posting this. I can’t stand these radio spots. The guy just soulds like a creep. He’s like: “Hey, radio listener. I’ve got this amazing secret I want to tell you, just come a little bit closer, a littel closer, sorry but I have to whiper it…and by the way, ya want some candy?” I actually ‘do’ live in Roseville and would NEVER do business with this guy (along with everyone else I’ve talked to). My best advice to Hayes would be hire a new ad agency man and never speak on the radio again.

  7. I agree that it’s among the most irritating campaigns on the radio. But he must be successful with that tone of voice, or he wouldn’t have spent so much money on that kind of advertising over the years. It’s a shame if you happen to listen to the stations he carpet-bombs with his ads.

  8. it should be noted that h.b. honed his craft as a telesales rep at the Oracle corporation in the late ’90’s. he broke the mold for a hard pushing direct marketing rep. anything for a buck.

  9. Thanks. I hope that the all the other former Oracle sales people (there must be an army of them) don’t use Mr. Barnard’s approach in their current gigs.

  10. I apologize if this is maybe a little off topic. I refinanced with Paramount back in 2004. Come 2009, my loan adjusted and I was left with no choice but to walk away with my 3 kids and stay at home wife. I had to rely on credit cards the last couple of years, even charging a couple mortgage payments. We ended up filing ch. 7 and we are now renting and have ZERO (if not worse) credit. Today (9/27/11) an auditor came to my door and gave me some info and verified other info regarding B-of-A filing a PMI claim. Sorry so long winded….

    One of the docs he showed me was of my stated income which was double… DOUBLE my income at the time. I NEVER would put myself into such a situation and lied. I honestly believe the number was changed and it was burried in an inch of docs I had to sign and I just didn’t see it. I’m not claiming complete innocence, because after all, I DID sign everything and agreed to the loan (which I didn’t know was a negative amortization loan. Hell, I didn’t even know what that meant). Now, we’re stable, but my financial future and creditworthiness is screwed. I barely got a $500 limit credit card at 17%.

    Do I have any type of recourse here? I’m not frivolous, but I am at a loss. In fact… I LOST everything. Thanks in advance.

  11. Jared, thanks for sharing your story. I’m not a mortgage or finance expert — not even close. We’re mostly concerned with marketing techniques here. If someone falsified your income information, I’d seek legal help from your state or from a law firm. If you’re in Washington, you might want to contact the Department of Financial Institutions, which may be interested in your story. They have an interesting history with Paramount Equity.

    Jillayne Schlicke at Rainy City Guide [ http://bit.ly/dTsVza ] might also be interested in your story.

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  15. Jared, I know for a fact that if when you signed up for that loan there was a disclosure in there that you had to sign 3 times saying you knew and understood what type of loan you were getting. Paramount was the only company in the mortgage mayhem that did not do too many Neg-Am loans because the owner (Hayes) had the foresight to fully disclose the terms of your loan. If you are going to tell your story, let’s hear the whole story. How much credit card debt, cars, boats, etc did you pay off with your “homes equity” back in 05? I was a loan officer then, and that was the case about 90% of the time! Just like the rest of America, you went ahead and charged the credit cards back up, bought more vehicles, increased your debt ratios…. And now that home values are back to realistic amounts, you don’t qualify to refi. So you “walked away” meaning you got to live in your house for free for how many years. It’s just funny how people love pointing fingers, when you are just as much (if not more) responsible for getting yourself in that scenario to begin with. Tell the whole story. Next time, not just the highlights.

    • JayD, like I wrote in response to Jared, I’m not an expert in mortgages and the applicable law. But, do you know for a fact that Jared was paying for boats or cars? Maybe he was, but to insinuate he was without knowledge is pretty weak.

      I know a lot of refi marketing in the timeframe when he took his loan encouraged people to pay their other loans with the help of their refi. I don’t recall specifically if Paramount Equity did.

      I do know that Paramount was fined for false, deceptive and misleading advertising. In their ads, they misrepresented available loan rates, they misrepresented that they were a “bank” and therefore able offer lower rates than their competitors, they misrepresented that rates were fixed when in fact they were adjustable, and so forth. That information is all available at this Washington Dept. of Financial Institutions web page: http://dfi.wa.gov/CS%20Orders/C-07-405-09-CO01.pdf

      Jared says that the form showed a much higher income than he reported. I guess it’s impossible to prove whether he’s telling the truth.

      But I’m here because I fear for the integrity of business in general and marketing in specific. When liars lie, it makes it tough for those of us who don’t. Willful disregard for truth in advertising, as displayed by Hayes Barnard and Paramount Equity, is inexcusable. It’s stunning to me that Paramount Equity got off with only a $400,000 fine.

      I get stomach acid thinking about all the honest mortgage companies, brokers, agents, etc., who lost business to the dishonest ones.
      barrett recently posted..Why We Don’t Plagiarize

  16. I remember during the housing bubble, when so many people were borrowing against their inflated home equity. Throughout those years Hayes Barnard was on the radio, playing up to the moron market with his snake oil salesman voice, making it sound like people could have money for nothing and would be crazy not to give him a call. It was despicable then and it is despicable now. A lot of people borrowed money through this man who should not have been going into debt. He played them all for suckers, and he’s still walking around, a free man, playing the same games. Just the sound of that guy’s smarmy voice makes me want to puke.

    • George, I don’t disagree with anything you wrote. Especially that the attitude Barnard projects through his tone of voice is pretty irritating. I believe he even used the words “it’s a no brainer” in some of his ads. Which indicates that if you didn’t call him, you were without brains.

      Pretty amazing stuff. Unfortunately, he’s not alone in this style of intimidating advertising.
      barrett recently posted..From Sales, A Marketing Lesson

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