The changes proposed on March 16 to fair-value, also known as mark-to-market accounting, would allow companies to use “significant judgment” in valuing assets and reduce the amount of writedowns they must take on so-called impaired investments, including mortgage-backed securities. A final vote on the resolutions, which would apply to first-quarter financial statements, is scheduled for April 2.
Later on in the same article:
Citigroup had $1.6 billion of losses last year for so- called Alt-A mortgages, according to the company’s annual report. That loss would be erased with the new FASB rules, Dietrich said.
Bank of America Corp. in Charlotte, North Carolina, reported “income before income taxes” last year of $4.4 billion. The FASB proposal on impaired securities would increase that figure by about $3.5 billion, or the amount of “other- than-temporary” losses that the company recognized,
Now, I’m just a simple country boy–a simple country boy with a webserver, true, but a simple country boy.
It appears to me that, when this stuff is translated in to plain English, it means that companies can use “fair market value” to account for their assets . . .
. . . except when they don’t want to.