Loan Loss Provisions

Updated on April 29, 2024
Article byWallstreetmojo Team
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Are Loan Loss Provisions?

Loan loss provisions are the portion of the loan repayments set aside by banks to cover the portions of the loss on defaulted loan payments. It helps the bank balance the income and survive during bad times and is recorded in the income statement as a non-cash expense.

Loan Loss Provisions Definition

You are free to use this image on your website, templates, etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: Loan Loss Provisions (wallstreetmojo.com)

It can manage the earningsManage The EarningsEarnings Management refers to producing “fabricated” financial statements by the company managers to display its monetary success in front of the stakeholders.read more by creating large provisions in case of high returns and small provisions during low returns. The bank can withstand the changing economic conditions by providing ample provisions to cover the losses and expenses

Loan Loss Provisions Explained

Loan loss provision ratio is the amount set aside to meet the expected credit loss. It is a systematic way used by the banks to cover the risk. The calculation of provision is based on estimations and calculations.

The information about loan loss reserves and provisions is useful for investors as it provides insights into the bank’s stability in lending and how the bank manages the credit. The bank can also decide the amount of provision that needs to be set aside based on the income

Lending and borrowing are the main businesses of the banking industry.  They borrow money from customers, called deposits, and lend these to needy people. Interest out of these lending is the main source of revenue for the banks.  According to the conservatism principleConservatism PrincipleThe conservatism principle of accounting guides the accounting, according to which there is any uncertainty. All the expenses and liabilities should be recognized. In contrast, all the revenues and gains should not be recorded, and such revenues and profits should be recognized only when there is reasonable certainty of its actual receipt.read more, for a business, all losses should be accounted for, whether it is materialized or not. So the banks anticipate loan default payments and provide a portion of loan repayments to balance the loss of default payments.

Loan Loss Provisions

You are free to use this image on your website, templates, etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: Loan Loss Provisions (wallstreetmojo.com)

Accounting for Financial Analyst (16+ Hours Video Series)

–>> p.s. – Want to take your financial analysis to the next level? Consider our “Accounting for Financial Analyst” course, featuring in-depth case studies of McDonald’s and Colgate, and over 16 hours of video tutorials. Sharpen your skills and gain valuable insights to make smarter investment decisions.

How To Calculate?

Many factors affect the calculation of loan loss provision ratio. The provision needs to be adjusted frequently as per the available estimates and calculations on customer loan repayment reports.

  1. Historical Data on Repayments and Default: The bank has to refer to and collect the record of customers’ defaults and repayments of loans.
  2. Loan Collection Expenses: Loan collection expenses affect the calculation of provisions.
  3. Credit Losses: The credit loss for late payments.
  4. Economic Conditions: The prevailing economic recession affects the calculations.
  5. Business Cycle: The movement of GDP is also a factor.
  6. Interest Rate: The change in interest rate influence its calculation.
  7. Tax Policy: The changes in the tax rate.

The process of loan loss provisions accounting is very important for banks and any other financial institution we are engaged in the business of lending out money to individuals or corporates. The above steps are to be kept in mind for such institutions so that they can function successfully.


Let us try to identify the concept of loan loss provisions accounting with the help of a suitable example as elaborated below:

  • Loan unpaid more than 2 months=100000,  provision 10%
  • Loan unpaid between 2and 6 months =250000, provision 12%
  • If, Loan unpaid more than 6 months =400000, provision 15%
Loan Loss Provision Example 1-1

This Ratio of loan loss provision expense is a ratio that indicates the capacity of the bank to bear the loss on loans. A higher rate means a greater ability for the banks to face loan losses.

Loan Loss Provision Coverage Ratio = Pre-Tax Income + Loan Loss Provision / Net Charge Offs

Net charges = Actual Losses

Loan Loss Provision Example 1
  • =2,000,000 + 300,000 / 500,000
  • = 4.6

Loan Loss Provisions Vs Loan Loss Reserves

The above are two different concepts that refer to fund set aside to meet the loan default amount. However, there are some important points of differences between them. Let us try to identify them as given below:


These are expected losses of the bank due to credit riskCredit RiskCredit risk is the probability of a loss owing to the borrower's failure to repay the loan or meet debt obligations. It refers to the possibility that the lender may not receive the debt's principal and an interest component, resulting in interrupted cash flow and increased cost of collection.read more, charged against the profits, recorded as an expense in the income statement. Bank loan loss provisions affects the regulatory capital of the bank through a profit and loss accountProfit And Loss AccountThe Profit & Loss account, also known as the Income statement, is a financial statement that summarizes an organization's revenue and costs incurred during the financial period and is indicative of the company's financial performance by showing whether the company made a profit or incurred losses during that period.read more.

It is important to understand the fact that this provision can be influenced by changes in the rules and regulation related to the guidelines followed by banks. The accounting standards may be specific to that particular region or jurisdiction. Thus these financial institution needs to remain updated regarding these rules and update their provisions  so that they reflect the latest economic and market changes.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to what are Loan Loss Provisions. We explain them with example, how to calculate them, differences with loan loss reserves & impact. You can learn more about it from the following articles –

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *