October 25, 2008
re 4-537 Fair value accounting or mark to market
Given the role financial institutions play in a capitalistic system they need to be protected from market to market accounting. In any recession when there is a trend toward risk aversion, existing loans will be depressed in value. This will happen to both performng and non-performing loans. If a financial institution is required to mark down performing loans their ability to make additional loans is impared. Given that our financial intitutions are leveraged 10 to 1 or more, the mark to market quickly destroys their capital cushion and lending stops.
I believe that mark to market was brought into play because of the lack of transparency that existed with companies like Enron. However, no one thought through the damage that would take place to our banks in an economic contraction.
Elimination of Fasb 157 will create mark ups, and will enable banks to return to making loans. It opens their doors once again. Their role in society is too important and they need to be protected.