Banks that fail to provide bridging finance for businesses waiting for wage subsidy payments should be publicly shamed, senior cabinet minister Peter Dutton says.
The Morrison government is applying pressure on the big four banks to assist businesses waiting for JobKeeper payments.
The major lenders have agreed to establish a hotline after concerns were raised that businesses were struggling to get loans while the wage subsidy allowance was being processed.
JobKeeper payments are expected flow to businesses from from mid-May.
The federal government said on Thursday that more than 960,000 businesses and sole traders had registered interest in the $130 billion wage subsidy scheme.
Mr Dutton said banks were wasting an opportunity to restore their reputations following the financial services royal commission.
The Home Affairs minister had previously voted against a royal commission into the banks, calling it ‘regrettable’.
“We’ve put in place a regime where they can offer that finance and they should,” he told Nine’s Today.
“We need to look at the cases where they’re not, and frankly, I think the banks should be publicly shamed.”
Mr Dutton said businesses in his electorate were grateful for support from banks.
“But clearly, there are a lot of cases where that is not happening and we need to understand why. The banks need to step up.”
Under the JobKeeper program, the federal government will give coronavirus-hit businesses $1500 a fortnight for each employee.
Companies have to start paying the allowance before receiving the payments, with banks urged to help with cashflow shortfalls in the meantime.