Sarah Chae, Robert F. Sarama, Cindy M. Vojtech, and James Wang | The new forward-looking credit loss provisioning standard, CECL, is intended to promote proactive provisioning as loan loss reserves can be conditioned on expectations of the economic cycle. We study the degree to which one modeling decision–expectations about the path of future house prices–affects the size and timing of provisions for first-lien residential mortgage portfolios. While we find that provisions are generally less pro-cyclical compared to the current incurred loss standard, CECL may complicate the comparability of provisions across banks and time. Market participants will need to disentangle the degree to which variation in provisions across firms is driven by underlying risk versus differences in modeling assumptions.

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