Agreement reached on accounting for losses on bank loans

US AND INTERNATIONAL standard setters yesterday revealed they have agreed a single approach to the way banks account for losses on loans, one of the most controversial issues to emerge from the financial crisis.

A statement from the International Accounting Standards Board said it had agreed with FASB, its US counterpart, to work on an expected loss model after both organisations initially made separate proposals.

The details of the proposal will be published later this month.

The IASB said: “The boards will propose an impairment model based on accounting for expected losses. This approach provides a more forward looking approach to accounting for credit losses.”

One senior accountant and a close observer of the debate told Accountancy Age that it was vital for the two bodies to find common ground.

The expected loss model asks banks to book a loss if they believe a default is likely. It has met with some strident opposition from the banking sector.

When the IASB published its original proposals in an exposure draft they were accused by the British Bankers Association of producing the most complex option imaginable.

The joint approach has emerged after the G20 requested a solution to difference on accounting for loans and after an expert advisory panel including risk management specialists was set up to look at the options.




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Fiona Westwood of Smith and Williamson.