FASB has issued a proposed Accounting Standards Update (ASU) that would ease transition to the credit losses standard by providing the option to measure certain types of assets at fair value. Stakeholders are asked to review and provide comments on the proposal by March 8, 2019.
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.