Financial institutions will have another chance to voice concerns about a planned accounting rule change for loan-loss reserves.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board has reconvened the group that met several times before it adopted its Current Expected Credit Loss standard last June. The meeting, which will take place Monday in Norwalk, Conn., is intended to address some recent stakeholder questions, a FASB spokeswoman said.
One trade group — the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions — plans to lobby for a delay of CECL implementation until the standard’s kinks are worked out. The group is hoping that the banking industry will join it in pressing for a pause.
“Now that FASB has opened the door a little, I hope our colleagues are open to a little collaboration,” said Alexander Monterrubio, NAFCU’s director of regulatory affairs.
Bankers, however, are unlikely to join in.
The American Bankers Association expects to officially stay neutral on the issue of a delay. Still, the group believes a pause would provide bankers with a chance to highlight the heavy workload that CECL’s data-reporting requirements will likely create.
CECL is “going to be a whole lot more work, and I’m not sure the cost-benefits are worth it,” said Mike Gullette, the ABA’s vice president for accounting and financial management policy.
“I don’t believe FASB is open to considering major revisions” to CECL, added James Kendrick, first vice president for accounting and capital policy at the Independent Community Bankers of America.
CECL will replace the financial services industry’s current incurred-loss standard with an expected-loss model that requires institutions to project losses when a loan is booked. Regulators, meanwhile, have sought to convince bankers and credit unions that they will not force institutions to invest in expensive software to make calculations.
While NAFCU may hold high hopes for an eleventh-hour action, suspending CECL implementation, which is set to occur in stages from 2019 to 2021, remains a long shot. The FASB spokeswoman said the transition resource group that will meet on Monday lacks the authority to approve a delay. Rather, the group will tackle questions tied to a limited number of issues such as credit card receivables and troubled-debt restructurings.
The meeting was scheduled to address technical topics with no expectations of a broad reconsideration of CECL, Gullette said.
That hasn’t stopped banks and credit unions from expressing concerns that the new standard will trigger a spike in loan-loss provisions that will, in turn, cut into capital and reduce lending.
“Financial services stakeholders from all corners of the market have evaluated the actual requirements of the standard and there is a growing consensus that the standard could negatively impact lending and the overall economy,” Dan Berger, NAFCU’s president and CEO, wrote in a Monday letter to the standards board.
Whatever transpires, more clarity might spur more banks to hasten their preparations for CECL. Jack Henry Associates said nearly two-thirds of the more than 400 financial institutions it surveyed recently had not begun the planning process.
The banking industry’s lack of preparation “concerns me a lot,” Gullette said.