Provision For Credit Losses - PCL

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DEFINITION of 'Provision For Credit Losses - PCL'

In accounting, an estimation of potential losses that a company might experience due to credit risk. Provision for credit losses is an estimated amount to be lost and is treated as an expense on the company's financial statements. Companies that engage in lending activities determine the provision for credit losses based on statistics that define the likelihood that debt will be recovered.

BREAKING DOWN 'Provision For Credit Losses - PCL'

The provision for credit losses is a means for financial institutions to account for expected losses from delinquent and bad debt. Based on historical statistics, a financial institution can make estimates regarding the amount of loans or other credit that is likely to become default and unsatisfied (default probability). If, for example, the company calculates that accounts over 90 days past due have a recovery rate of 40%, they can make a provision for credit losses based on 40% of the balance of these accounts.

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