Caley Thistle chairman Ross Morrison is calling on the big banks to play a crucial part in saving Scottish football.
The Championship club’s chief backed a campaign launched by a local MSP to urge Scottish lenders to charge commercial borrowers only the basic 0.1% Bank of England rate for three to six months.
The plea comes as Scottish clubs face up to the harsh realities of slashed income during the current lockdown.
Morrison, who took the Caley Thistle helm from Graham Rae last September, reckons it is time for payback after those banks were bailed out during the financial crisis more than a decade ago.
He said: “At the moment, the banks are offering to defer capital payments on commercial loans. This is all well and good and helpful, but what does this cost the banks? Very little.
“The banks will still charge the rates over base rate as this margin is where their profit lies.
“With this current situation set to continue to deepen, this measure would help businesses survive the crisis and there would be a lot less liquidations at the end of this outbreak.
“The state bailed the banks out when they needed it. We are all in this together and it’s only fair now that the banks should return that favour to ensure the viability of hundreds of businesses in the north, and tens of thousands in Scotland.”
David Stewart, Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, has contacted fellow north MSP and finance secretary Kate Forbes asking her to request that Scottish banks alter charges for commercial borrowers during the time of the outbreak.
Stewart, a Caley Thistle season ticket holder, said: “I have received representation from commercial outlets who are seeking help.
“What I am being told is that they want to see Scottish banks charge their commercial borrowers 0.1% for three months initially, then month to month as the government sees fit.
“This would take a huge strain off businesses and, yes, the banks would lose out on their profit margin for the period, but it would help an untold amount of hotels, restaurants and other businesses survive this crisis.”