The Financial Accounting Standards Board plans to finalize rules eliminating the concept of qualified special purpose entities, commonly known as “Q’s”, between mid- and late June. As previously reported, these investment vehicles will move onto banks’ balance sheets during the next fiscal year—which begins on Jan. 1, 2010, for most institutions. The Q exemption has kept large quantities of the ABS, mortgage-backed securities, and similar assets off the books.
In a letter last week to Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, 16 groups—including the Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Homebuilders—contended that the changes “will undoubtedly impact both the U.S. financial sector and securitized credit markets,” and “urges policy makers to address this issue through a joint project with the International Accounting Standards Board.” The group’s lobbying will not delay the finalization the rule change, according to FASB.
While most in the banking sector seem to be taking the disappearance of Qs in stride, banks are anxiously awaiting regulatory guidance from the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and other agencies. The American Bankers Association is asking regulators to “coordinate their responses,” says Michael Gullette, vice president of accounting and financial management at the ABA. Bankers also hope that the regulatory bodies will look at the true level of risk before adding to capital requirements.