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What is a Call Report?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2016
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A call report is a financial filing disclosing information about a bank's financial position. Banks in the United States are required to file call reports every quarter by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC). These reports are filed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and they are reviewed for accuracy by this organization before being released for use by regulators, the general public, members of Congress, and other interested parties.

Formally known as a Report of Condition and Income, a call report provides a variety of data to regulators. The report is intended to create a complete and accurate picture of the bank's financial position and status, and includes entries like a balance sheet, assets and liabilities, income statement, and receivables from loans and lease agreements. Banks have up to 30 days to file the call report without penalty and can also make amendments up to 30 days after the filing period.

Once the call report is received and verified, it is made available on the FDIC website, as well as by request from the FDIC. People can review reports from individual banks, as well as examining general statistics and information from a given filing period. Some members of the public find this information interesting to peruse, as do economists and other academics who study the banking industry and the economy in general.

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Regulators use call reports to identify banks in trouble. If the filing suggests that a bank may be at risk of failing, regulators can make decisions about what kind of interventions to provide. Banks may be encouraged to sell to other financial institutions, or regulators may step in to take over a failed bank. The goal is to spot potential problems before they progress to the point that regulators must take over, and to intervene to correct a bank on a collision course with financial ruin.

Policymakers and government economists also review call reports. These documents can be used to gather evidence in support or opposition of proposed policy and to examine the financial history of a given financial institution after the fact to learn more about where and why it went wrong. The detailed information provided in a call report can also be helpful for representatives of tax authorities and other government agencies.

Thrifts, which are savings and loans associations mainly used in the United States, file what is known as a Thrift Financial Report. This is a document similar to a call report that provides important disclosures about the financial health of a thrift.

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