CECL Progress Is Being Made, but Will It Be in Time?

As the compliance dates for CECL near, progress is being made across the board, but not fast enough, according to CECCl experts. This was the overarching finding of Austin, Texas-based Abrigo’s 2019 CECL Survey. The survey gauged financial institutions’ preparedness for the upcoming transition to the current expected credit loss standard.

“The clock is ticking,” said Regan Camp, senior director of advisory services at Abrigo. “While many financial institutions are taking the necessary steps to make sure they are prepared for this important change in accounting for credit losses, it’s clear that others are falling behind their peers.”

One area of concern, according to Camp, is the limited number of SEC-filing institutions that have produced results and are now running parallel CECL-compliance allowances in preparation for 2020. Despite the fact that institutions have been encouraged to plan for at least four quarters of parallel execution in order to offer enough time to observe a series of results and calibrate their models, only 14 percent of SEC registrants surveyed are currently running parallel allowances. Even more concerning, there are still 3 percent of SEC registrants that acknowledge having yet to begin CECL preparation at all.

In addition to gauging financial institutions’ preparedness for the transition, Abrigo also assessed the personnel involved in CECL preparations, the depth and breadth of data collected and the methodologies financial institutions are considering using under CECL during the survey. The results differed between SEC filers, community and mid-market banks and credit unions. The array of methodologies selected by financial institutions suggests that there really is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to achieve CECL compliance. The survey shows a well-distributed spread across the available methodologies being chosen, suggesting that institutions are carefully assessing what estimation method is most appropriate for their own circumstances.

The survey revealed that while many financial institutions are taking the steps necessary for the CECL transition, there are also many others that have significant ground to cover in order to catch up to their peers, and not much time is left to do so, a release from Abrigo stated.

To download the full report, click here.

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