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Economic Quarterly

Fall 2009

Dynamic Provisioning: A Countercyclical Tool for Loan Loss Reserves.

Eliana Balla and Andrew McKenna

In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007–2009, as various banking policymakers revisit loan loss provisioning rules, the Spanish approach of dynamic provisioning has garnered attention as a potential alternative to the current incurred loss approach. We review the current approach to loan loss reserves in the United States, focusing on how loan loss reserves relate to bank solvency and why the current accounting approach may have procyclical effects. We present a conceptual framework to compare loan loss provisioning under the incurred loss framework and dynamic provisioning. Then we simulate dynamic provisioning with U.S. data to present an empirical comparison.

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