Thursday, September 26, 2013

asset^liability on a bank's bal sheet

When a bank issues a financial statement, the meaning of AS (asset) and LI (liability) tend to confuse me.

Suppose JPMC bank has client IBM...

Liability - Deposits (incl. CD) at the bank
Liability - overnight borrowing. This interest rate could surge like in 2008.
Liability - Commercial papers issued by the bank
Liability - Bonds issued by the bank
Asset - securities owned by the bank (treasury department?), including stocks, govt bonds and corp bonds etc. Securities could devalue like bad loan!
Asset - Loans to corporations like IBM -- on the balance sheet treated like a govt bond!
Asset - Loans/mtg to retail -- on the balance sheet treated like a govt bond!
Asset - spare cash

AS = LI + share holders' equity

If the bank issues 600M shares in an IPO, the $600mil collected is considered share holders' equity capital or simply "capital" or simply "equity".

Chronologically, the balance sheet starts with the initial share holders' equity. Then Deposits come in and sitting there as spare cash. Similarly the bank can issue bonds.
Then the bank could use the spare cash to buy securities -- without change on the LI side.
The bank can also use the spare cash to give loans -- without change on the LI side.

Each type of transaction above affects the balance sheet only in a "realized" sense i.e. book values --

Big warning - all the AS numbers and LI numbers and equity values are book values.
* Latest share price doesn't enter the equation. Those 600M shares will always be recorded as worth $600M on the balance sheet.
* market value (m2m) of the loans lent out doesn't matter
* market value (m2m) of the securities owned by the bank doesn't matter.

Fair Value accounting tries to change that. Mark-to-market is a big effort in GS and many investment banks.

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