Understanding the fair value of banks' loans

Our Financial Stability Papers are designed to develop new insights into risk management, to promote risk reduction policies, to improve financial crisis management planning or to report on aspects of our systemic financial stability work.
Published on 28 November 2014

Financial Stability Paper No. 31
By Samuel Knott, Peter Richardson, Katie Rismanchi and Kallol Sen

Loans are typically the largest asset class on banks’ balance sheets. So understanding the value of loans is vital to any assessment of the resilience of the banking system. This is not straightforward. The market value of loans is seldom observable. And the nature and diversity of banks’ loans has changed markedly over time: the maturity of loans has increased, on average; banks’ mortgage lending has ballooned; and banks use more hard information in their lending decisions. So it is unlikely that any one valuation technique will capture all relevant aspects of valuation across all types of loans. Recognising this, banks are required by accounting standards to disclose the fair value of their loans in the notes to their accounts. At the end of 2013, the fair value of the major UK banks’ loans was £55 billion less than the amortised cost value.

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