A business coalition that includes The Real Estate Roundtable on March 5 wrote to the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to urge a delay in the implementation of the proposed Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) accounting standard, which may begin to reduce aggregate bank lending as early as next year. (Coalition Letter, March 5)
- The new CECL model will change the way banks calculate reserves on assets, requiring certain financial institutions to estimate the expected loss over the life of a loan beginning in January 2020. For real estate, there is concern is that banks may reduce lending volumes as they build up additional capital reserves to be in compliance with CECL.
- The accounting rule change was issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in June 2016 as a result of the 2008 financial crisis.
- The regulatory change in how banks estimate losses in their allowance for loan and lease losses (ALLL) will require substantial changes in data analytics and financial methodologies. The March 5 coalition letter cites a 2018 KPMB survey showing companies are struggling to make certain accounting, modeling and data decisions to be in compliance with CECL. (KPMG, Financial institutions feeling the crunch in countdown to CECL implementation)
- According to Trepp’s Looking at Historical CRE Losses for CECL, “To benchmark and fine-tune loss methodologies for CECL, the key for banks will be a four-letter word: data. Unfortunately, many banks have very little in the way of granular historical data, and a number of those that do have good data have taken few to no losses in their history. This has made it difficult for those banks to effectively model future losses.” (Trepp article by Joe McBride, April 21, 2017)
- To avoid unintended economic consequences, the coalition states in its letter, “We believe it is important to delay implementation of CECL in order to allow for time to conduct a quantitative impact analysis and to consider potential alternatives, while allowing for post-issuance field testing. Time for further assessment will also allow regulators to better understand and address the key consequences of any proposal for capital and other regulatory purposes.”
The 8 signatories to the coalition letter are the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Bankers Association, Bank Policy Institute, The Real Estate Roundtable, Commercial Real Estate Finance Council, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Realtors, Credit Union National Association and National Association of Federal Credit Unions.