Banks Given More Leeway In How They Value Toxic Assets
The board that sets U.S. accounting standards on Thursday gave companies more leeway when valuing assets, providing a potential boost to battered banks' balance sheets.
The independent Financial Accounting Standards Board voted to adopt new guidelines under the so-called mark-to-market accounting rules, which require companies to value assets at prices reflecting current market conditions. The board was meeting at its headquarters in Norwalk, Conn.
The changes will allow the assets to be valued at what they would go for in an "orderly" sale, as opposed to a forced or distressed sale. The new guidelines will apply to the second quarter that began this month.
The mark-to-market rules have forced banks to take steep write-downs on some assets, especially securities tied to high-risk subprime mortgages, as the industry has reeled from the housing market slump and banks have foundered and failed.