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US banks' removal of 'misleading' own credit in Q1 season to reduce distortions in earnings, says Moody's

Moody's on April 4 said that it expects first-quarter resultsfrom several U.S. banks to be free from "misleading gains and losses"on debt measured at fair value, also called "own credit," reducing distortionsin earnings reports.

The accounting change at the banks follows a Financial AccountingStandards Board decision that all companies reporting under GAAP rules should recognizechanges in the fair value of debt related to their creditworthiness in other comprehensiveincome rather than in net income. Several banks indicated that they would be implementingthe changes beginning with the first quarter.

Moody's vice president Upaasna Laungani called the practice ofincorporating own credit into earnings "counterintuitive and confusing"— the majority of rated companies that employed the practice were banks, mainlyones in U.S. and Europe, the rating agency added.