Well it has taken me since last August to get the authorities to take action but here it is, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, FASB, has modified the “mark-to-market” rules allowing banks and others to value their “securitized debt” holdings to “models” instead of the “market.” I use parentheses since the “markets” they were using were actually “models” based on the property market. The “models” they will now use are the long term or maturity value of the assets, reduced by actual losses.

I expect this to cause an immediate effect on the balance sheets of those holding “securitized debt” instruments. However, given the severe decline in the financial system, it may take some time for these improved balance sheets to translate into increased lending.

The other immediate effect will be to reinforce the Feds move to revive the “securitized debt” industry. Again, the Feds are pouring $400 billion into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to generate more mortgages that will be “securitized.” The Fed TALF Program will also generate some $ 1 trillion in “securitized debt” based on non-mortgage loans, e.g. student loans, car loans and credit card debt.

While all of this is good, we will still need President Obama’s stimulus package to jump start the stalled economy. Taken into account the combination of the various plans to revive the credit market and the direct stimulus to the economy, I would expect the US economy to be back to 2007 levels by the end of this year if not sooner.

Leo Cecchini
April, 2009