US banks fear accounting changes could impact lending as they force $5 trillion of assets back on to their balance sheets
Analysts at Citigroup warn the planned tightening of accounting rules for off-balance sheet vehicles would force US banks to reconsider arrangements and could result in up to $5 trillion (₤2.5 trillion) of assets coming back on to their books.
‘We think it is very likely that these vehicles will come back on balance sheet.’ Birgit Specht, head of securitisation analysis at Citigroup, told Financial Times.
‘This will not affect liquidity because [they] are funded, but it will affect debt-to-equity ratios [at banks] and so significantly impact banks’ ability to lend.’
Specht told a seminar on asset-backed securities in Cannes the uncertainty about the change was making banks concerned about their investments. ‘Banks are not investing [in assets] right now because of funding issues and regulatory uncertainty,’ he said.
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