The Financial Accounting Standards Board has released an accounting standards update that changes the treatment of the amortization of premiums for purchased callable debt securities, shortening the amortization period for the premium to the earliest call date.
When a callable debt security is bought at a premium, the premium is usually amortized to the maturity date, even if the holder is sure the call will be exercised. Then when the call is exercised, the unamortized premium is recorded as a loss in earnings. However, FASB has heard concerns from some of its constituents that this accounting treatment means too much interest income ends up being recognized before a borrower calls the debt security, followed by recognition of a loss on the call date. The new standard answers these complaints by shortening the amortization period for the premium to the earliest call date. That way, it will more closely align the interest income recorded on bonds held at a premium or a discount with the economics of the underlying instrument.
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