ABA lauds FASB change of course on mark-to-market accounting
Mark-to-market accounting won't be required for loans and other financial assets as proposed last May. Earlier Tuesday, the Financial Accounting Standards Board reversed course and voted to approve a measure that allows companies to account for assets at their amortized cost rather than their fair value that is based on market prices. The American Bankers Association lauded the decision. In August, the ABA sent a letter to the rule makers saying the changes would increase the complexity of financial statements and make regulation more difficult. "Along with banking investment analysts and other stakeholders, ABA has worked tirelessly to educate accounting rule-makers about the destructive implications of expanding mark-to-market accounting to all financial instruments, including loans" ABA President and Chief Executive Frank Keating said Tuesday. FASB didn't immediately respond to an email for comment. Although a handful of reports quoted spokesman Neal McGarity saying "today's vote is really a strong result of due process at work." Keating, who is a former governor of Oklahoma, said the move greatly increases the likely convergence of American accounting standards with International Financial Reporting Standards. "Today’s shift recognizes investor concerns that a company’s business model should be a key factor in measuring financial instruments," he said. "While mark-to-market can be very useful for a business that trades financial instruments, the most appropriate accounting measure for a loan portfolio is the loan balance minus impairment." Tuesday's vote is preliminary and the final decision is expected this summer. Write to Jason Philyaw.