No. 32: Accounting for Financial Stability: Bank Disclosure and Loss Recognition in the Financial Crisis

Abstract

This paper examines banks’ disclosures and loss recognition in the financial crisis and identifies several core issues for the link between accounting and financial stability. Our analysis suggests that, going into the financial crisis, banks’ disclosures about relevant risk exposures were relatively sparse. Such disclosures came later after major concerns about banks’ exposures had arisen in markets. Similarly, the recognition of loan losses was relatively slow and delayed relative to prevailing market expectations. Among the possible explanations for this evidence, our analysis suggests that banks’ reporting incentives played a key role, which has important implications for bank supervision and the new expected loss model for loan accounting. We also provide evidence that shielding regulatory capital from accounting losses through prudential filters can dampen banks’ incentives for corrective actions. Overall, our analysis reveals several important challenges if accounting and financial reporting are to contribute to financial stability.

Beteiligte Institutionen

Die Hauptstandorte vom TRR 266 sind die Universität Paderborn (Sprecherhochschule), die HU Berlin und die Universität Mannheim. Alle drei Standorte sind seit vielen Jahren Zentren für Rechnungswesen- und Steuerforschung. Hinzu kommen Wissenschaftler der LMU München, der Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, der WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, der European School of Management and Technology in Berlin und der Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, die die gleiche Forschungsagenda verfolgen.