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British banks may have £30bn hidden losses


British banks may be harbouring a black hole of as much as £50bn in undeclared losses that do not show up in their accounts but hamper their efforts to lend, a shareholder group has warned.

by Louise Armitstead, The Telegraph:

PIRC has calculated the amount of bad debts the banks may have to write off in coming years but have yet to subtract from profits, together with other items such as deferred bonuses not booked.

HSBC, which is the biggest bank by assets, was shown to have £10.4bn of hidden losses, the Royal Bank of Scotland has £9.4bn, and Barclays has £7.3bn. Lloyds Banking Group has £2.5bn and Standard Chartered £2.2bn. Together the undeclared losses total £31.8bn.

The research shows the distorting impact the accounting rules, which allow bad loans to remain hidden, have on bank results. PIRC applied old-style UK GAAP accounting rules, which applied for 100 years until 2005, to the figures released in the 2012 banks’ accounts.

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