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Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Rejects Bank Proposal on Loan Losses

  • May 13, 2019

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) this week voted to reject a proposal by regional banks to soften the impact of a change that will force banks to book losses on bad loans much faster.  This rejection means that the Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL) accounting standard will proceed as planned at the beginning of 2020 for publicly traded U.S. banks and later for other financial institutions.  A business coalition that included The Real Estate Roundtable last month had urged further study amid concerns that CECL may soon begin to reduce aggregate bank lending.  (Coalition Letter, March 5)

  

The Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) this week voted to reject a proposal by regional banks to soften the impact of a change that will force banks to book losses on bad loans much faster.

  • The new CECL model will require certain financial institutions to estimate the expected loss over the life of a loan beginning in January 2020 – a significant change to the way banks calculate reserves on assets.  CECL may cut into earnings and regulatory capital by forcing some banks to boost their loan-loss reserves.  (Wall Street Journal, April 3) 
  • 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.  (Roundtable Weekly, March 8) 
  • The regulatory change in how banks estimate loan and lease losses (ALLL) will require substantial changes in data analytics and financial methodologies.  Details on FASB's April 3 Tentative Board Decision are available here
  • The March 5 coalition letter cited 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")  
  • Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC) recently wrote to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton expressing concerns about the coming CECL loan loss accounting approach and its effects on markets and investors.  Luetkemeyer and McHenry wrote that they are worried CECL implementation-which begins in 2020 for publicly traded banks-could have unanticipated effects on the financial and housing industries with questionable benefit.  
  • The CECL accounting rule change was issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in June 2016 as a result of the 2008 financial crisis.  (FASBCredit Losses
  • The Roundtable's Real Estate Capital Policy Advisory Committee (RECPAC) will continue to address the potential impact of the new accounting standard and work with the CECL business coalition on CECL implementation issues. 

In addition to The Roundtable, the 8 signatories to the March 5 coalition letter were the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Bankers Association, Bank Policy Institute, Commercial Real Estate Finance Council, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Association of Realtors, Credit Union National Association and National Association of Federal Credit Unions.