FASB Proposes Transition Relief for Credit Losses Standard

February 6, 2019

FASB recently proposed a standard that is designed to ease the transition to its new credit losses standard by providing an option to measure certain types of assets at fair value.

Issued in 2016, the credit losses standard introduced the expected credit losses method for measuring credit losses on financial assets measured at amortized cost, replacing the previous incurred loss method. It also modified the accounting for available-for-sale debt securities, which must be individually assessed for credit losses when fair value is less than the amortized cost basis.

Some stakeholders - including auto financing institutions that extend credit to borrowers with limited or impaired credit histories - noted that certain financial statement preparers have begun (or are planning) to elect the fair value option on newly originated or purchased financial assets that have historically been measured at amortized cost. They noted that electing the fair value option would require them to maintain dual measurement methods - fair value measurements and amortized cost basis.

The proposed ASU would allow preparers to irrevocably elect the fair value option, on an instrument-by-instrument basis, for eligible financial assets measured at amortized cost basis upon adoption of the credit losses standard. This would increase the comparability of financial statement information provided by institutions that otherwise would have reported similar financial instruments using different measurement methodologies, potentially decreasing costs for financial statement preparers while providing more useful information to investors and other users.