The longer I work in banking, the more I believe that the best title I ever wrote for an article was “Should Bank Annual Reports Be in the Fiction Section of the Library?”

There are countless examples of banks adjusting numbers to achieve management’s goals. For example, a bank might sell an asset or make some other one-time decision every year to help its bottom line look better. All too often this works, because so many investors react to the published numbers without digging into them.

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