The world's biggest banks have shaved over $300 billion from their income statements in recent bad debt writeoffs, but they're dealing tens of billions more in losses from the bottom of the deck by posting them on their balance sheets instead of their income statements, says Bloomberg. Story here.
Will tough accounting rules make banks too conservative? That's what investment bank Sandler O'Neill tells the Securities and Exchange Commission, asking the SEC for guidance that would give banks more leeway in valuing impaired debt. But fair value can also exaggerate a bank's profitability. Stories here and here.
Don't hold your breath for clarification: It took the SEC four years to issue guidance for Sarbanes-Oxley reporting requirements, notes veteran auditor John McLaughlin, a principal at Smart & Associates in Devon.