CECL: Proven in the Field and Ready for Prime Time

Bankcard accounting requirements for recognizing credit losses at top banks became subject to more conservative rules following the Great Recession and Dodd-Frank. The process, which took effect in 4Q 2019, helped the industry prepare for unanticipated losses and was acid-tested during the COVID-19 outbreak. Although credit losses never materialized, top issuers could offset lost revenue from changing consumer purchase trends as they recovered their loan loss reserves in 2021. The new accounting standard, known as Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL), will soon apply to smaller banks and credit unions. Although the process accelerates losses and may seem severe, the policy changes better position banks from failures and, in the long term, protect financial institutions and investors.

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