Bankers: Fair-Value Didn't Cause Credit Crisis
An interesting little survey released Thursday morning suggests that banking executives see lax underwriting and politics as the chief reasons behind the nation's housing and credit crises. A survey conducted by Grant Thornton LLP and Bank Director magazine found that underwriting and a "political emphasis on increasing home ownership," as well as a "lack of oversight of the mortgage industry" were cited as the top three causes for the current credit crisis. 54 percent of bankers cited underwriting as a problem, while 46 and 44 percent of survey participants said political emphasis and a lack of oversight were among the primary causes. Notably, only 15 percent of bankers selected the much-maligned fair value accounting standard as one of their three top choices as the main cause of the credit crisis -- only mortgage fraud was given a lower response response rating (11 percent). Which suggests that either most banking executives are out of touch, or that some of the reasons being bandied about for the financial crisis aren't really reasons at all. "I think bankers understand that fair value accounting affects only a portion of the balance sheet and by itself it did not cause the current crisis," said Dorsey Baskin, a partner in Grant Thornton's National Professional Standards Group. "Nevertheless, efforts underway to revisit this and related issues such as 'other than temporary impairment' are very welcome." Write to Paul Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.