Mnuchin lines up bankers to handle virus aid to airlines

-A +A

(April 3): The Treasury Department has retained several Wall Street banks to assist with loans to three industries during the coronavirus crisis.

PJT Partners will handle loans to airlines, while Perella Weinberg Partners will assist companies involved in national security, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday at a White House briefing. Boeing Co. will be receiving aid on national security grounds. Moelis & Co. will work with companies in the cargo industry.

Under the Treasury program, Mnuchin said, there would be no big fees for banks, adding they’ll be taking what they would for charitable work.

“No big fees to bankers,” Mnuchin added.

Mnuchin reiterated that airlines would not be receiving bailouts. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this week joined critics in saying that providing payroll assistance to airline employees should be the priority while officials discuss taking equity stakes in the companies.

Pelosi said she didn’t want funding to support workers to be delayed while airlines decide whether it’s worth giving up equity to the federal government.

Mnuchin said he spoke to Pelosi late Wednesday about the part of the legislation, heavily debated between Republicans and Democrats, that outlines how the government will make sure taxpayers are compensated for support to airlines.

“There is a specific line in the bill that says the secretary -- meaning me -- will determine proper compensation so that this is not a bailout for the airlines,” Mnuchin said. “I will be working, once we get our advice from our financial advisers, we get the applications from the airlines, I’ll be working very closely with the president, and we’ll make sure that we strike the right balance.”

Taxpayers will be compensated, he said.