From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Repo 105 is an accounting maneuver where a short-term loan is classified as a sale. The cash obtained through this “sale” is then used to pay down debt, allowing the company to appear to reduce its leverage by temporarily paying down liabilities—just long enough to reflect on the company’s published balance sheet. After the company’s financial reports are published, the company borrows cash and repurchases back its original assets.
Bank of America Corp., the largest U.S. bank by assets, said it wrongly classified as much as $10.7 billion of short-term repurchase and lending transactions as sales from 2007 to 2009 to reduce its end-of-quarter assets.
Bank of America said the inaccuracies aren’t material and “don’t stem from any intentional misstatement of the Corporation’s financial statements and was not related to any fraud or deliberate error,” according to a May 13 letter (below) released yesterday from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
“A $10.7 billion accounting error would be a material event for about 99.9 percent” of U.S. banks, said Cornelius Hurley, director of the Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law at Boston University School of Law. “It’s hard to see how the SEC can accept BofA’s rejoinder as being sufficient.”
Bank of America had disclosed in a March 31 financial filing that “certain sales of agency mortgage-backed securities should have been recorded as secured borrowings rather than sales,” bank spokesman Jerry Dubrowski said. “The handful of transactions did not have a material impact on the company’s balance sheet or earnings. They need to be viewed in the context of our $2.3 trillion balance sheet.”
The bank transferred mortgage-backed securities to a trading partner with the idea of receiving different securities later and classifying the deals as sales, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. The securities the bank received were similar to those it got rid of, meaning the transactions can’t be considered sales, the newspaper said.
Read article in its entirety here…
Check out the Bank of America / SEC letter below…