Part of the Consolidated Financial Statements as of 31 December 2009; audited by KPMG AG Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft.

Impairment of Financial Assets


At each balance sheet date, the Group assesses whether there is objective evidence that a financial asset or a group of financial assets is impaired. A financial asset or group of financial assets is impaired and impairment losses are incurred if:

  • there is objective evidence of impairment as a result of a loss event that occurred after the initial recognition of the asset and up to the balance sheet date (“a loss event”);
  • the loss event had an impact on the estimated future cash flows of the financial asset or the group of financial assets and
  • a reliable estimate of the loss amount can be made.

Impairment of Loans and Provision for Off-Balance Sheet Positions

The Group first assesses whether objective evidence of impairment exists individually for loans that are individually significant. It then assesses collectively for loans that are not individually significant and loans which are significant but for which there is no objective evidence of impairment under the individual assessment.

To allow management to determine whether a loss event has occurred on an individual basis, all significant counterparty relationships are reviewed periodically. This evaluation considers current information and events related to the counterparty, such as the counterparty experiencing significant financial difficulty or a breach of contract, for example, default or delinquency in interest or principal payments.

If there is evidence of impairment leading to an impairment loss for an individual counterparty relationship, then the amount of the loss is determined as the difference between the carrying amount of the loan(s), including accrued interest, and the present value of expected future cash flows discounted at the loan’s original effective interest rate or the effective interest rate established upon reclassification to loans, including cash flows that may result from foreclosure less costs for obtaining and selling the collateral. The carrying amount of the loans is reduced by the use of an allowance account and the amount of the loss is recognized in the income statement as a component of the provision for credit losses.

The collective assessment of impairment is principally to establish an allowance amount relating to loans that are either individually significant but for which there is no objective evidence of impairment, or are not individually significant but for which there is, on a portfolio basis, a loss amount that is probable of having occurred and is reasonably estimable. The loss amount has three components. The first component is an amount for transfer and currency convertibility risks for loan exposures in countries where there are serious doubts about the ability of counterparties to comply with the repayment terms due to the economic or political situation prevailing in the respective country of domicile. This amount is calculated using ratings for country risk and transfer risk which are established and regularly reviewed for each country in which the Group does business. The second component is an allowance amount representing the incurred losses on the portfolio of smaller-balance homogeneous loans, which are loans to individuals and small business customers of the private and retail business. The loans are grouped according to similar credit risk characteristics and the allowance for each group is determined using statistical models based on historical experience. The third component represents an estimate of incurred losses inherent in the group of loans that have not yet been individually identified or measured as part of the smaller-balance homogeneous loans. Loans that were found not to be impaired when evaluated on an individual basis are included in the scope of this component of the allowance.

Once a loan is identified as impaired, although the accrual of interest in accordance with the contractual terms of the loan is discontinued, the accretion of the net present value of the written down amount of the loan due to the passage of time is recognized as interest income based on the original effective interest rate of the loan.

At each balance sheet date, all impaired loans are reviewed for changes to the present value of expected future cash flows discounted at the loan’s original effective interest rate. Any change to the previously recognized impairment loss is recognized as a change to the allowance account and recorded in the income statement as a component of the provision for credit losses.

When it is considered that there is no realistic prospect of recovery and all collateral has been realized or transferred to the Group, the loan and any associated allowance is written off. Subsequent recoveries, if any, are credited to the allowance account and recorded in the income statement as a component of the provision for credit losses.

The process to determine the provision for off-balance sheet positions is similar to the methodology used for loans. Any loss amounts are recognized as an allowance in the balance sheet within other liabilities and charged to the income statement as a component of the provision for credit losses.

If in a subsequent period the amount of a previously recognized impairment loss decreases and the decrease is due to an event occurring after the impairment was recognized, the impairment loss is reversed by reducing the allowance account accordingly. Such reversal is recognized in profit or loss.

Impairment of Financial Assets Classified as Available for Sale

For financial assets classified as AFS, management assesses at each balance sheet date whether there is objective evidence that an individual asset is impaired.

In the case of equity investments classified as AFS, objective evidence includes a significant or prolonged decline in the fair value of the investment below cost. In the case of debt securities classified as AFS, impairment is assessed based on the same criteria as for loans.

If there is evidence of impairment, any amounts previously recognized in equity, in net gains (losses) not recognized in the income statement, is removed from equity and recognized in the income statement for the period, reported in net gains (losses) on financial assets available for sale. This amount is determined as the difference between the acquisition cost (net of any principal repayments and amortization) and current fair value of the asset less any impairment loss on that investment previously recognized in the income statement.

When an AFS debt security is impaired, subsequent measurement is on a fair value basis with changes reported in the income statement. When the fair value of the AFS debt security recovers to at least amortized cost it is no longer considered impaired and subsequent changes in fair value are reported in equity.

Reversals of impairment losses on equity investments classified as AFS are not reversed through the income statement; increases in their fair value after impairment are recognized in equity.

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