FASB Loosens Mark-to-Market Rules. Finally

But what tremendous damage has been done.

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Market-to-market, the accounting rule that ate Wall Street, has finally been relaxed. The changes from FASB, applicable to first quarter earnings, allow companies to use “significant” judgment when valuing assets. That will reduce writedowns on certain investments, including mortgage-backed securities. All in all, it could boost banks’ net income by at least 20 percent. Maybe  or more. But let me give you another number: $30 trillion. Those are global stock market losses as a result of the financial crisis, and that includes the recent rebound which, I believe, can be greatly attributed to signs the rule would be loosened. Not pushing this change earlier is what Team Obama should be apologizing for at the G20 summit, if anything.