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Bank of America incorrectly classified as much as $10.7 billion in short-term lending and repurchase deals for mortgage securities as sales. This claim surfaced in a May 13 letter to the SEC where the banking corporation alleges that the transactions were immaterial and that it would be beefing up its internal accounting controls.  This letter was sent in response to an SEC request of finance chiefs at about two dozen firms in March, asking whether they employed accounting strategies like Repo 105 used at Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

Questions:

1. In the letter, the bank said its incorrect accounting for the six trades wasn’t intentional. “We do not deliberately structure transactions that are economically disadvantageous simply for the purpose of recording a sale or reducing recorded liabilities.” What must their incorrect journal entries have been?

2. Why did the bank include the phrase that “its incorrect accounting for the six trades wasn’t intentional?”

3. What does “end-of-quarter window dressing” mean in terms of this event? What is Repo 105?

4. Do you agree or disagree that this amount is not material enough to disclose? Explain your answer.

Source:

Rebel Traders (2010). Bank Of America (NYSE: BAC) Admits To Hiding Debt, iStock Analysts, July 12 (Retrievable online at http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewarticle/articleid/4299094)

Video: Lehman Brothers ‘Accounting Gimmick’: Repo 105 Lehman Hid Assets (Retrievable online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb3DLWeHCks)

Staff reporter. (2010). Bank of America Wrongly Classified Transactions, China Daily, July 12 (Retrievable online at http://english.sina.com/business/2010/0711/328707.html)

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