A Closer Look at the First Mandatory E-filing System Using XBRL

The first mandatory e-filing system using XBRL will officially be launched on October 1. The system, known as the Call Report Modernization Project utilizes the Central Data Repository (CDR) a secure shared database containing the quarterly filings of the nation’s estimated 8,400 financial institutions. Call Reports collect the basic financial data from commercial banks in the form of balance sheets, income statements and supporting schedules. They are used to supervise and evaluate the financial condition of the institutions.

The Call Report Modernization Project is intended to simplify and increase the transparency of the call report process. Currently, call report filings are comprised of 2,000 fields of data requiring 400 pages of instructions. Some 1,500 formulas are used to validate the data, which is used by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Federal Reserve Board (FRB), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the public. The Federal Financial Institutions Examinations Council (FFIEC) estimates that more than 192,500 hours are spent compiling and filing call reports each year.

“We want to come up with a single way to collect call data with a common-sense approach,” Mike Bartell, chief information officer of the FDIC told attendees at the XBRL conference in Boston earlier this year.

Financial institutions have been required to transmit their Call Report data electronically since March 1998. The real impact of the Modernization is not the e-filing but what is being filed. The development of XBRL allows each data point to be tagged with information that gives it a contextual meaning and allows developers and software vendors to create applications that automatically reads, collects and process the information it contains. The FFIEC will maintain and manage the Call Report taxonomies. The Federal Reserve has established a CDR Help Desk to assist users and aid in resolving submission problems that are not the result of software problems or failed edits. The CDR Help Desk can be contacted by phone at 888-CDR-3111, e-mail at cdr.help@ffeic.gov or by clicking the Help button on the CDR web site.

“Ultimately, the goal is to release financial data and call report revisions faster increasing the transparency of the nation’s financial institutions in much the same way as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is increasing the transparency of public companies,” says Cynthia Ayoush, Sr. Financial Analyst with the Federal Reserve.

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