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Financial Statement Presentation

The FASB and IASB are working on a project to change the way information is displayed in the financial statements. A discussion paper "Preliminary Views of Financial Statement Presentation" was issued with a comment period ending April 14, 2009.

Status as of 2013

In 2011, FASB and IASB put their Financial Statement Presentation project on hold, pending completion of other projects, such as Accounting for Financial Instruments. It is unclear when the Boards will restart this project.

A Summary of key discussion points in the FASB paper, and the ABA position is as follows:

Discussion Paper pointABA Position
Overall, there is a need to better present financial statement information.There is no persuasive need to change financial statements for banking institutions.  Required and requested information is already included in the footnotes.
Balance sheet and income statement items should be disaggregated based on operating vs. investment vs. financing activities (similar to requirements for the statement of cash flows.Investing and financing activities of banks normally ARE operating activities.  Disaggregating these arbitrarily will misrepresent how a bank manages its activities.
One statement of comprehensive income should be required.Banks normally do not manage their businesses at fair value.  Therefore, one statement of comprehensive income will mislead investors.  The option to show separate statements of earnings and statements of other comprehensive income should be retained. 
The statement of cash flows should be prepared on a direct basis.The direct method of presenting cash flows is irrelevant banks and does not reflect how banks manage cash flow and liquidity.
A reconciliation of cash flows to comprehensive income should be presented.Since a direct method of cash flows is not appropriate, neither will a reconciliation be appropriate.