The “accounting view” of money: money as equity (Part III)

Partly I of the blog, we discussed the implications in our suggested “Accounting View” of cash because it pertains to legal tender. Partly II, we further elaborated around the implications from the new approach, with specific mention of the commercial bank money. We conclude our management of commercial bank profit this part, beginning where we left, that’s, the double (accounting) nature of business bank (sight) deposits as debt or equity.

Bank deposits: debt, equity, or both…?

This double nature is stochastic because, at issuance, every deposit unit could be debt (if, having a certain probability, the issuing bank receives demands for money conversion or interbank settlement) and equity (with complementary probability). Confronted with this type of stochastic double nature, an industrial bank finds it easy to provision the deposit unit issued with some reserves that equals just the expected worth of the connected debt event, as opposed to the full worth of the deposit unit issued.

“Stochastic” refers that, ex ante, a financial institution creating one unit of deposit expects (probabilistically) that just a share of this unit will result in debt, as the remaining share (still probabilistically) won’t be susceptible to demands for conversion or settlement. The proportion of debt-deposits (or equity-deposits since it’s complement) is really a stochastic variable that’s affected by behavior and institutional factors (for instance, cash usage habits or payment system rules) in addition to contingent occasions. For instance, in occasions of market stress, the proportion of debt-deposits has a tendency to increase, although it is commonly lower when there’s strong trust throughout the economy and also the banking system particularly. Policy and structural factors that strengthen such trust (for instance, the elasticity that the central bank provides liquidity somewhere if needed or perhaps a deposit insurance mechanism) boost the share of equity-deposits.

This argument is apparent when put on the entire banking system, however it holds for everybody bank-although to various extents, with respect to the size each bank for any given settlement system and funds usage.1 In the discussion to date, the result is that, everything else being equal, the stochastic share of debt-deposits for any small bank is more than for any bigger bank. The other way around, the bigger may be the bank, the higher may be the share of equity found in its deposit liabilities.

Accounting concepts

The stochastic double nature of bank cash is in conjuction with the concepts of general accounting as defined within the Conceptual Framework of monetary Reporting, which sets the concepts underpinning the Worldwide Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Based on the Framework,

“A liability is really a present obligation from the entity to transfer a fiscal resource because of past events”.2


“Financial reports represent economic phenomena in words and number. To become helpful, financial information mustn’t only represent relevant phenomena, however it should also represent the substance from the phenomena it proposes to represent. In lots of conditions, the substance of the economic phenomenon and it is legal form are identical. When they won’t be the same, supplying information no more than the legal form wouldn’t faithfully represent the economical phenomenon. 3 [emphasis added]

Considering these definitions, sight deposits really are a hybrid instrument – partially debt and partially revenue. Your debt part pertains to the proportion of deposits which will (likely) become banknotes when needed or into reserve for settlement purposes, and reflects the “substance” from the obligation underlying the deposit contract. The revenue part, however, pertains to the proportion of deposits which will (likely) never become banknotes or reserves, and reflects the mere “legal form” underlying the deposit contract. This share of deposits is an origin of revenue. Once accrued, this revenue becomes equity.

Now, since there’s no accounting standard governing hybrid revenue-liability instruments clearly, Worldwide Accounting Standards (IAS) 32 applies (in pressure of IAS 8) and offers that, poor a hybrid liability instrument, your debt component should be separated in the equity one.4 From such separation derives that, when the debt component is identified, the rest of the left may be the equity component.5 Within the situation of deposits, the proportion of deposits that (most likely) won’t result in debt represents retained earnings (that’s, equity).

The use of IAS 32 is really a textbook situation. It indicates the balance sheet from the issuing bank should report among financial obligations just the share of deposits that provides origin to some “probable” output of monetary benefits, as the residual share ought to be reported within the earnings statement as revenue. Furthermore, because the share of profits due to this revenue is undistributed, it might increase the bank’s equity in the budget statement.

To aid the validity from the approach here suggested, consider IAS 37 (governing risk provisioning, charges, and contingent liabilities).6 This standard views as debt all commitments that come under the Framework’s meaning of “liability,” that’s, individuals that generate outflows of monetary benefits having a probability more than .5. Below such threshold, the liability is really a contingent liability and should simply be reported within the notes towards the fiscal reports.

The implication is unavoidable: the presence of legal claims isn’t by itself sufficient for any liability that need considering as debt the fundamental requisite may be the probable outflows of monetary benefits. Within the situation of bank money, the proportion of deposits that aren’t debt should be considered as revenue, and also, since such revenue isn’t reported within the earnings statement, it constitutes retained earnings (or equity).


The double nature of business bank money draws its origin from the strength of banks to produce a type of money that just partially has got the nature of debt. A vital implication is the fact that another share of deposits that banks report within the balance sheet as “debt toward clients” generates revenues which are greatly like the seigniorage rent extracted through the condition with the issuance of legal money (coins, banknotes, and central bank reserves). As discussed elsewhere,7 this particular seigniorage represents a structural component of subtraction of internet real sources in the economy, with deflationary effects on profits and/or wages, distributional effects, and frictions between capital and labor, that ought to be studied carefully.


Bossone, B. 2000. “What Makes Banks Special? Research of Banking, Finance, and Economic Development.” Policy Research Working Paper 2408, World Bank, Washington, Electricity.

—. 2001. “Circuit Theory of Banking and Finance.” Journal of Banking and Finance 25 (5): 857-90.

—. 2017. “Commercial Bank Seigniorage: A Primer.” World Bank, Washington, Electricity.

1 Size here refers back to the amount of payment transactions the bank intermediates in accordance with the entire payment transactions within the system.

2 Section 4.26 from the Conceptual Framework.

3 Section 2.12 from the Conceptual Framework.

4 Particularly, IAS 8 (Sections 10-11) mandates that, “In the lack of an IFRS that particularly pertains to a transaction, other event or condition, … management shall make reference to, and think about the applicability of, the next sources in climbing down order:

(a) the needs in IFRSs coping with similar and related issues and

(b) the definitions, recognition criteria and measurement concepts for assets, liabilities, earnings and expenses within the Framework.”

5 See IAS 32, Sections 28 It’s significant that, within the situation ruled through the quoted standard, the hybrid instrument has got the double nature of “liabilities-capital” and never “liabilities-revenue” however, capital and retained earnings fit in with equity. Briefly, equity could be shared into a minimum of two major components: capital along with other ownership’s contributions around the one hands, and retained earnings alternatively. IAS 32 provides regulation for splitting hybrid instruments from a part due to liabilities along with a part due to equity. In line with the definitions from the Framework, when the component recognizable as debt liability is identified, the rest of the component is related to equity.

6 See IAS 37, Section s 12-13, in which the fundamental distinction is attracted between your adjective “probable” for debt liabilities and also the adjective “possible” for contingent liabilities to become reported within the notes towards the fiscal reports.

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