Tony Groves

I’m not even angry anymore. I don’t know what I am. I do have all this rage inside me, but that’s not the same as anger. I’m not great at explaining myself and when I try to I just get in a bit of a mess. Sure, there’s no point looking back.

Closure, everybody wants closure. The kids therapist always says closure. There’s no such thing as closure. There’s only right now and right now is very fucking hard.

Right now I’m reading how the Minister for Finance is going to admonish the banks. I’d say they’re bricking it. I’d imagine they’re taking the big apologies they used at the banking inquiry out of a safe, blowing off the dust and making their way towards the Dail whistling away to themselves.

Admonish? I’d admonish the heads off them. But that’s not the answer.

I always had a bad temper, got into too many scrapes and had a few too many near misses with the law. I remember, back when myself and herself first moved in together, coming in late one night with blood on me.

I remember her fussing over me, making sure I was alright. Then, I remember her going berserk when she realised it wasn’t my blood. She made me promise no more fighting that night. And I’m not sure if that was for the best. I’m not sure of anything now.

I do remember getting my wages cut, and I do remember baby number 2, tweedle-ella, arriving as the last happy day we had.

I remember needing help on the mortgage and I remember asking the local branch to see what could be done. I remember that I was lucky because I had plenty of equity in the house, even as the prices fell.

I remember them saying that the problem wasn’t the mortgage, it was the Credit Union loan and the Credit Card, the fucking Credit Card that they gave me and that they put up the limit on every six months. Jaysus, I was fucking eejit.

So they bundled the debt together and threw in the last few bob I owed on the car and offered me a Mortgage Top Up. Save me hundreds per month, I was told. And it did. The top up got rid of the short term debt and stuck it on the never-never.

What I don’t remember, and what I still don’t remember is how they managed to use the Top Up to take away our Tracker Rate. I mean, I remember them telling me that the Top Up was at a Standard Variable Rate, and that was cool. Jaysus, 6% is a lot better than Credit Card Rates of 16%.

But I don’t remember them saying that the Tracker was part of the deal. But when I complained later they sent me out copies of the agreement, and there, highlighted, was my signature and her signature above the manager’s signature. Buried it the waffle above; in point 7 was our consent to removing the Tracker Rate.

No, I’m not angry. Not anymore. The Central Bank did nothing in 2010. I don’t see them doing much now. There’s talk that I’ll get a few bob back, I won’t hold my breath.

Whatever Paschal does won’t amount to anything. They’ve known about this for years. And as for Leo Come Lately; don’t make me laugh.

No, I lost more than most, but not as much as many. I have the house. I have the kids, the Tweedles. And I’m going to visit the wife this evening. She’s doing a bit better and might even be up to seeing the Tweedles, so there is that.

I hope no one tells her about the stern talking to the bans are going to get.

I’m also going to have to go through the rigmarole of meeting her “care team”. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great people, but I always feel like they’re evaluating me, like it’s my fault, or that something in me is broken and their eyes are trying to spell it out to me. They look at me almost as if they are admonishing me.

A few bob won’t fix that.

[The above is a fictional account of how people in difficult situations wound up being taken advantage of in the tracker scandal. This is something that is contrary to Central Bank rules, which state the onus is on the bank to act in the best interests of the customer. It is an example of how the cost of reimbursing people won’t ever come close to compensating them]

Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the financial industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly at Trickstersworld.


28 thoughts on “Admonishment

    1. Shayna

      I have to admit I got swept away in the story until he revealed that it was fictional. It all appears pointless now.

  1. hugh_mungus

    “I have children so I can run up personal debt and not read the small print on major life changing financial arrangements”

    powerful, and really made me think

  2. Cian

    This is way the schools should have a course on managing money (assuming they don’t already).
    1. how to save
    2. how interest works
    3. how to priorities paying bills (i.e. clear off the 16% credit card before the 7% overdraft)
    4. why you should save
    5. what a tracker mortgage is.
    6. why you should read the terms and conditions of all major purchases
    7. taking personal responsibility for money – just because the bank will give you money doesn’t mean you should take it.

    1. mkg985

      Spot on Cian,
      I know of a family member who this happened to and this story is a little to real to be fake. Moany Tony hasn’t given much thought to the personal responsibility side. But isn’t that his point, drama.

    2. Twunt

      It is a great idea, but school is too early. You don’t give an F about mortgages when your 15 year old mind is occupied by the things that concern 15 year olds.

      This should happen in mid twenties, preferably before getting back mortgages/ credit card

      1. Cian

        :-) a bit like the pre-marriage courses you need to do?

        A pre-credit-card course.
        A pre-mortgage course.

        They could be run by MABS.

    3. anne

      “read the terms & conditionals” in case you’re being robbed blind & lied to by your bank is it? right..

      People were lied to and told they could get their trackers back after being persuaded to go on a fixed rate.. there’s even a judge who was robbed by his bank of 18k who’s come out about being taken off his tracker mortgage. It’s on the front page of the papers there.

      Lied to & robbed of your money. No reading of terms & conditions can prepare people for outright thievery. Widespread fraud going on here.

      & imagine not being ripped off to the tune of hundreds a month..your ability to save might improve I’d say.

  3. GiggidyGoo

    “fully engaged with our consumer protection mandate
    Usual codswallop phraseology that basically says nothing. Anyone else fed up of that kind of spake?

  4. Peter Dempsey

    It must be awkward for the lefties and anarchists who believe that “all property is theft”. Which side do they take?

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