Lenders have been hammered by the pathologically procyclical impact of FAS 157’s mark-to-market regime. Hardly surprising, therefore, that banks and credit unions came out in force to support the latest FASB “clarification” of FAS 157. Some other commenters, mostly from the “analyst” community, emphatically disagree.
“Sue them, jail them, make them pay,” cries Ann Woolner. “I’d fire Chris Cox,” shouts John McCain. Floyd Norris chimes in, “Had the S.E.C. gone over the records of Lehman and Bear Stearns with the vigilance it now promises for the shorts, we might not be in this mess.” Steve Covey: “Seek first to understand.” Whoa! How’d Covey get in there?
Société Générale has been treated to all kinds of abuse for recognizing in 2007 Jerome-Kerviel losses “incurred” in 2008 just after the 2007 year-end cutoff. Floyd Norris has been especially critical of the French bank’s use of the “true and fair view” exception which he calls an IFRS “loophole.”
Well, as they say, what goes around comes around. In the Alice-in-Wonderland world of financial reporting standards setting the current U.S. financial accounting standards-setter (the FASB) is on the verge of effectively ratifying SocGen’s 2007 treatment of those Kerviel losses. This ratification comes in the form of an Exposure Draft — for lay readers, an “ED” is a draft of a new accounting standard — on the Disclosure of Certain Losses and Contingencies. More on that below. Continue reading