Thursday, April 2, 2009

FASB Eases Fair-Value Rules Amid Lawmaker Pressure

This story was timestamped 10:53 EDT. I didn't watch the webcast.
From Bloomberg:
The Financial Accounting Standards Board, pressured by U.S. lawmakers and financial companies, voted to relax fair-value rules that Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. say don’t work when markets are inactive.

The changes to so-called mark-to-market accounting allow companies to use “significant” judgment when gauging the price of some investments on their books, including mortgage-backed securities. Analysts say the measure may reduce banks’ writedowns and boost their first-quarter net income by 20 percent or more. FASB voted on the rules at a meeting today in Norwalk, Connecticut.

“Congress clearly indicated that some easing was probably appropriate in this instance,” House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said today in a Bloomberg Television interview....MORE

The AP says "The new guidelines will apply to the second quarter that began this month." whereas MarketWatch believes: "The new guidance, which is expected to boost bank operating profits when they report first quarter results later this month"

I'll go with MarketWatch until I see the release.

The net-net result is that the U.S. Treasury just took on more risk of loss in the Public-Private Partnership.