Bankers lobbied hard for relief they won from fair-value accounting rules, but few may capitalize on changes that let them mark up the value of distressed loans and securities.

The Financial Accounting Standards Board's decision last week to give bankers more flexibility in valuing certain securities does nothing to alter the underlying fundamentals of the loans that back those assets. As such, bankers are expected to take their time in reviewing their securities portfolios and gauging the longer-term impact of the U.S. economic slump on their business.

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