Banks pressed for it, and investor advocates pushed back as fiercely. But in the end, the relaxation of mark-to-market accounting rules appeared to have little impact on banks' first-quarter results.

"Minimum relief" was how PNC Financial Services Group Inc. described the effect of the new Financial Accounting Standards Board guidelines. "No material impact" was Citigroup Inc.'s assessment of how FAS 157-4, as the change is labeled, altered its valuation of mark-to-market assets. On JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s conference call, when executives reported "essentially no impact" from the relaxed FASB rule, one analyst was compelled to seek clarification on whether the banking company had even adopted the new accounting treatment.

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