Tag Archives: Tony Groves

The Echo Chamber podcast.

Episode 6.

Hosts Martin McMahon (top centre) and Tony Groves (top right) meet Ken Foxe (top left), journalist, academic and Freedom of Information warrior.

You’ll like him.

The Echo Chamber


In fairness.

The Echo Chamber

Fearless and authentic social justice warrior Izzy Kamikaze (top left) joins Tony Groves (top right) and Martin McMahon to discuss the impact made by her friends, historian Catherine Corless and the late Dara Quigley.

The Echo Chamber


Martin McMahon’s image of Dara Quigley mentioned on the podcast.

Tony Groves.

Twenty six miles plus change.

Financial consultant and Broadsheet columnist Tony Groves is running the Dublin City Marathon on Sunday in aid of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH).

Tony, who will be on Broadsheet on the Telly tonight, is this close to his fundraising target but could use a last minute push.

If you have anything to spare.

Tony Groves (Gofundme)

Previously: Only The Tony


In fairness.

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.


The Echo Chamber.

Just ‘dropped’.

The informative, common sense-stuffed, weekly 30-minute podcast returns with Tony Groves (top left) and Martin McMahon deliberating on Ophelia, The Fianna Fáil Ard Fheis, Tweet stealing and why we really don’t know what a tracker mortgage scandal is. Yet.

Contains: Facts, gags and one penis mention.

The Echo Chamber

From top: Rock, paper,scissors; Tony Groves

I was in Great Britain yesterday. I thought it was Belfast, but the radio blokey-bloke assured me that it was, in fact, Great Britain. It struck me as odd that a local station might would talk in the language of empire.Perhaps, I mused, it was just my little islander mentality and natural dislike of colonialism.

There’s a difficult reconciliation between an economic education and life experiences. Brexit, thus far, has been a disaster. The UK has spent months saying they have a plan. They keep saying the ball is in the EU’s court. Someone might want to tell them that while they’re playing tennis, the EU negotiators are playing chess.

Eurostat, they of Irish Water fame/infamy, have Britain as the worst performing economy in the EuroZone European Union. A GDP growth rate of just 0.2% has Britain rooted to the bottom of the 28 country league table. Even Greece is twice the UK’s rate, at 0.4%.

The OECD has also weighed in on the Britain bashing. They’ve predicted that while things are bad now, they’re likely to get worse. They’ve forecast that Britain will have the lowest growth levels of all the 47 countries they monitor in 2018. They conclude, worryingly, that “the UK faces long-standing decline”.

Even the Bank of England has waded into the mire. They announced yesterday that the rate of inflation, that has already reached 3%, hasn’t yet peaked. This in a country that has had five years of wage stagnation and an inflation target of 2%. Everyone is, in economic terms, poorer.

Throw in the decline in purchasing power of the £ Sterling and you have an economic broth that might kill the patient.

On my drive home yesterday I was listening to the radio. Knowing all of the above and understanding the effects economic decline had on our little country over the last decade, I was taken aback by what I was hearing.

Caller after caller said they were feeling the pinch, but that it was a price worth paying to “take back” their country. The phrase “make Britain great again” came up twice in one 2 minute segment.

An elderly lady, who started on the basis that her pension wasn’t enough to provide the basics anymore, concluded that “I’m very happy with how things are”. Talk about wrapping yourself in the flag!

Another rapscallion said that having just spent £103 to buy €100 that he felt he’d finally taking back his country. The satirists, as always, are our only hope!

Dan Snow quipped this morning that Great Britain was to stride “back onto the world stage by deploying more of our army at home”. This was in reference to UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd, saying troops might be deployed to protect the UK’s borders should no deal materialise.

Who speaks of no deal is better than a bad deal now?

If I was to make a prediction it would be that at the end of March 2019, we will all wake up to the biggest April Fool’s day joke ever. A complete Brexit omnishambles.

The game of Rock, Scissors, Paper is commonly known as Roshambo. We’ve all played it and we all have a strategy. But there’s another laddish version of the game, perhaps not as well known.

In the chest-thumping male version the participants kick each other in the balls and the loser is the guy who takes the longest to get to his feet. Brexit looks a lot like this Roshambo.

Except the EU is up and walking away in a muted and sad victory; while the UK is rolling on the ground, clutching their balls and yelling how this is a great victory for Great Britain.

I hope I’m wrong.

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.

Illustration: Pixaby

Tony Groves

Storm Warning: Only I think I’m funny and I’m indulging myself in this compilation while I wait on news of the passing of Cork.

This is a selection of my Twitter bar jokes, which started with the Fine Gael leadership ‘heave’ and got steadily worse from there.

Simon Coveney and Leo Varadkar walk into a bar. They each order a pint of Guinness and wait for it to settle. That was February 2016.

Leo Varadkar, Simon Coveney and Simon Harris walk into a bar.
Nobody orders anything and nothing happens.

Noirin O’Sullivan, Frances Fitzgerald and Josephine Feehily walk into a bar. Versions of events differ, but the barman has been arrested.

Leo Varadkar and a crocodile walk into a bar.
Leo: Do you serve poor people here?
Barman: Yep
Leo: I’ll have a pint so, and a poor person for my friend

Noirin O’Sullivan and Paul Williams walk into a bar. Everyone is made eat their SIM card and then forced to sign Non Disclosure Agreements.

Micheal Martin, Mattie McGrath and Ronan Mullan walk into a bar. “What’ll you have asks the barman?”
“It’s not that simple”, they dither. #RepealThe8th

Roisin Ingle, Tara Flynn & Anna Cosgrave walk into a bar.
“What’ll it be?” asks the barman.
“Free, safe & legal” they reply.
But that’s not on the menu…

Leo Varadkar and Máire Whelan walk into a bar. 3 Judges are ahead of them in the queue, but only Leo and Máire get served.

Joan Burton, Paul Murphy and 50 Gardai walk into a bar. They order lots of food and drink. Paul Murphy gets charged for everything.

Leo Varadkar and Justin Trudeau walk into a bar.
I only know because Leo is live streaming the ‘event’.

Ian O’Doherty, David Quinn and Kevin Meyers walk into a bar and order 3 pints of water. Miraculously all 3 glasses turn into whine.

A Shinner, a Muslim and a Cyclist walk into a bar.
George Hook faints.

Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill walk into a bar. The punchline is not funny, but is available in English, Irish and Ulster Scots.

A citizens assembly, an emergency summit and a public forum walk into a bar. They pass the drinks round and round, but nobody gets to drink.

Phil Hogan, Alan Kelly, Simon Coveney and Eoghan Murphy walk into a bar. They order nothing and the crisis gets worse.

Leo Varadkar and Justin Trudeau walk into a bar. Again.

3 academics walk into a bar. They get government funding for their drinks and call themselves a think tank.

Cerberus, Michael Noonan and NAMA walk into a bar. No notes are taken, but the bar closes shortly after and reopens as a Starbucks.

3 political stereotypes walk into a bar. Sure you know what they’re like.

A libertarian walks into a bar. The punchline is none of your business.

Dan O’Brien and Lorcan Sirr walk into a bar. Dan says the punchline is economic populism, Lorcan throws an empirical data insult at Dan.

Enda Kenny, Brian Cowan and Bertie Ahern walk into a bar. Denis O’Brien orders the drinks. From Malta. We get the bill.

A landlord, a politician and a teacher walk into a bar. “The usual, Minister?” says the barman.

Three Irish Times Op-Ed writers walk into a bar. None of them can articulate a decent punchline.

Cultural Appropriation walks into a bar and sits down next to Subculture. “I’ll have whatever Subculture is having”, he says.

A retweet and a quote tweet walk into a bar. Nobody follows them.

Actavo walks into a bar. “Didn’t I tell you you were barred?” asks the barman.
“No, that was my evil twin, Siteserv”, he replies.

Truth and Power walk into a bar. Nobody speaks.

A Public Services Card walks into a bar. The barman has already prepared his drink and arranged his prefered seat.

Leo Varadkar and Justin Trudeau walk into a bar. This is getting awkward now.

Tony Groves walks into a bar. Swung by those who want their 5 minutes back…

Stay safe, folks.

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.


The Echo Chamber.

A weekly 30-minute podcast with Tony Groves (top left), the ‘banker with a conscience’ and writer and blogger Martin McMahon.

Listen to them devour Budget 2018.

Listen to them devour Budget 2018.

Blummin’ echo.

The Echo Chamber

Tony Groves

In a land far, far away and in a time long, long ago there was a financial liquidity crisis. Now, the Banks, who were the pillars of this land, knew there was a problem. But they didn’t want to scare the All Powerful Boss, Mr Market.

No matter what, they had to retain his confidence.

Now the Banks had given out loans to people in what were called Tracker Mortgages. Theses, while things were good, were the engine of the bubble factory. But, when things went bad, these all burst leaving liquidity stains all over the balance sheets.

Luckily a White Knight, in the shape of (their equivalent of the ECB) Interest Rate Increases, rode into rescue our Pillars of Stability.

The Banks, quick as you like, seized on this opportunity and advised holders of Tracker Mortgages to protect themselves against the Rate Increases by signing what they called Fixed Rate Appendices. These were typically of between 3 and 5 years.

The holders availed of these more secure rates in their thousands. Wasn’t it the best advice and sure, didn’t the original loan offer that they had signed say that the Tracker Rate was “the underlying rate for the full term of the mortgage”?

Anyway, the White Knight of Rate Increases turned out to be a fraud. He was blindsided by a Dark Knight who gave himself the ungainly name The Global Financial Crisis, GFC for short.

The GFC went through the Bank’s Balance Sheets faster than Rating Agencies could downgrade Sovereign States. It was carnage. Interest Rates hit historic lows that would make a Trump approval rating seem good.

But remember those Fixed Rate people, with the underlying Tracker Rate?

What to do about them. The Banks were losing money hand over fist. They couldn’t afford to give people the Rates they’d agreed and the State sure didn’t want to have to put more money into the Banks.

I mean, these tens of thousands of people were on an average Rate of 4.75% and the Rate they were entitled to was about 1.15%; the Banks had a problem. Or did they…

You see, some clever clogs devised a way of removing the underlying rate issue. They came up with the “Suite of Options” letter.

This was a letter that went out to people about 30 days BEFORE their Fixed Rate expired. In the “Suite of Options” was a very basic offering:

Dear Sir or Madam,

You’re fixed rate is due to expire on date x

Please see our current rate options:
1yr Fixed at X%
2yr Fixed at X.X%
3yr yada yada
5yr jazz hands
Standard Variable at a little less than the fixed X.X%’s

Please tick the box you like, sign the bottom of the page and send it back to us in the prepaid envelope.

Many Thanks

Mr/Ms Pillar Bank

PS terms and conditions apply and there’s a brochure full of them and small print jargon etc etc. You look great, by the way. Have you lost weight?

So the letter went out and the Tracker Rate never even got included as an option. In fact, the Tracker Rate WAS the Do Nothing Option. If the customer didn’t complete the form their mortgage would automatically revert to the Tracker. This wasn’t in the Suite of Options.

Clever, no? It gets better, in the small print was a condition that allowed the bank to remove the original loan offers Tracker Rate “for the life of the mortgage” condition.

Now we had people, badly advised, voluntarily giving up their Tracker Mortgages, without ever knowing they’d volunteered. Genius, you can’t be up with them Bankers, I tells ya.

I’m not sure what happened next. I’d guess that everybody lived happily ever after.

I did read something about some people losing homes, having heart attacks and committing suicide over something to do with our Banks. But that’s not related to my fictional story. Not even a bit.

Besides, our stuff was just an administrative error? And sure, isn’t a 2 Bed portacabin in Ranelagh going for €600k nowadays. So, we are all sweet.

Aren’t we?

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 aTrickstersworld

Tony Groves

Tony Groves, financial consultant, noted tweeter and Broadsheeet columnist, is taking part in the Dublin City Marathon at the end of the month in aid of Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH).

And YOU can sponsor him.

Tony writes:

There’s over 8,000 people homeless, 3,000 of whom are children. Campaigns like #MyNameIs and the work of the volunteers at Inner City Helping Homeless have helped so many.
Please give whatever you can (at link below). It’s really needed and appreciated.

Marathon fundraiser for ICHH (Gofundme)