Banks give JobKeeper substitute thumbs up

Major banks have thrown their support behind the Morrison government’s cheap loan scheme aimed at small and medium sized businesses that are still struggling to recover from last year’s recession.

The scheme, part of a $1.2 billion package to take over from the JobKeeper wage subsidy that ends later this month, offers 10-year loans with 24-month repayment holidays.

“While many of our customers are back on track, some sectors and geographies remain under pressure,” Westpac chief executive Peter King said.

“For those customers, the new scheme will provide targeted support and also helps provide a funding bridge to give businesses more time to recover.”

The package also offers support to the struggling aviation sector by funding half-price air tickets for domestic flights between April and July.

National Australia Bank chief executive Ross McEwan said the package was a thoughtful extension to the JobKeeper scheme.

“We are pleased to see specific support for the aviation and tourism industries, given the particularly heavy load these businesses and their many employees have borne over the past year,” Mr McEwan said.

“The longer dated terms doubling to a maximum 10 years will be really helpful to businesses that were healthy pre-COVID but struggling in the current conditions.”

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