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افتراضي FASB member pushes transparency with financial statements

FASB member pushes transparency with financial statements
Date: 2010-02-09


By Mark Basch, The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville

Feb. 9--Risky behavior on the part of some banks led to financial turmoil in the last couple of years. But it wasn't just the risky behavior that caused the problems. It was also due to the fact that financial institutions were able to hide the risks from investors and regulators.
So Thomas Linsmeier is trying to fix that. Linsmeier, who visited the University of North Florida today for a talk at its "International Business Week," is one of five members of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the organization that sets accounting standards for corporations.
"The Financial Accounting Standards Board is making every effort to evaluate the role financial reporting had" in the financial crisis, Lismeier said in an interview.
"We're making every effort to make risk in the system transparent."
Basically, the FASB is trying to set accounting standards so that an investor or regulator can look at a bank's financial reports and properly assess how sound the bank is. Linsmeier, who was appointed to the board in 2006, said many banks that failed in the recent crisis looked good on paper in one quarterly report and then showed severe financial problems in the next. If their financial statements indicated the risks in their loans, problems could have been avoided.
"Their accounting reports didn't indicate that increased credit risk," he said.
As an example, he said FASB is working on a proposal in which banks would have to assess the true value of certain loans on their books. If the bank holds a mortgage in which the value of the home has fallen below the amount of the loan, the bank would have to report both the amount of the loan and the value of the home. That way, investors could see the potential risk of the loan.
"It's giving investors and taxpayers far more information," Linsmeier said.
The FASB is working with an international standards board to come up with an accounting rule for those loans.
Linsmeier's talk Monday kicked off a week of lectures at UNF that are open to the public as part of International Business Week. The lectures are being held in conjunction with the university's flagship international business program at the Coggin College of Business.
The list of speakers is available at http://www.unf.edu/coggin/int_busine...week_2010.html.
-----
To see more of The Florida Times-Union or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.jacksonville.com.
Copyright (c) 2010, The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.
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