Guidance on credit risk and accounting for expected credit losses

December 2015

This document sets out supervisory guidance on sound credit risk practices associated with the implementation and ongoing application of expected credit loss (ECL) accounting frameworks. The move to ECL accounting frameworks by accounting standard setters is an important step forward in resolving the weakness identified during the recent financial crisis that credit loss recognition was too little, too late. It is also consistent with the April 2009 call by G20 Leaders for accounting standard setters to "strengthen accounting recognition of loan loss provisions by incorporating a broader range of credit information". 

This guidance, which should be viewed as complementary to the accounting standards, presents the Committee's view of the appropriate application of ECL accounting standards. It provides banks with supervisory guidance on how the ECL accounting model should interact with a bank's overall credit risk practices and regulatory framework, but does not set out regulatory capital requirements on expected loss provisioning under the Basel capital framework.

The failure to identify and recognise increases in credit risk in a timely manner can aggravate underlying weaknesses in credit quality, adversely affect bank capital adequacy, and hinder appropriate risk assessment and control of a bank's credit risk exposure. The bank risk management function's involvement in the assessment and measurement of accounting ECL is essential to ensuring adequate allowances in accordance with the applicable accounting framework.

In June 2006, the Basel Committee issued supervisory guidance on Sound credit risk assessment and valuation for loans to address how common data and processes may be used for credit risk assessment, accounting and capital adequacy purposes and to highlight provisioning concepts that are consistent in prudential and accounting frameworks. This document replaces the Committee's previous guidance.