So how are banks doing these days? Let's take a look at the national banks who have filed XBRL with the SEC. Let's do an easy little comparison to show what you can do with XBRL, and to show one example of the types of issues we are going to have to deal with.
Here is the final result of my comparison in the form of an Excel spreadsheet and as a PDF. I made a few modifications to my Excel analysis tool which I made available and will provide an updated version soon.
What I did was simply grab the cash flow information for operating, investing, and financing activities for the first three quarters of 2009 and 2008. The time to grab that data using my little analysis tool was about 15 minutes. I used SIC code 6021 and grabbed these banks:
BANK OF AMERICA CORP /DE/
SUNTRUST BANKS INC
PNC FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP INC
US BANCORP \DE\
WELLS FARGO & CO/MN
REGIONS FINANCIAL CORP
J P MORGAN CHASE & CO
I then did some calculations to check the calculations to be sure they added up, everything was great. The analysis shows that cash flows are up for these national commercial banks for the first three quarters of 2009 as compared to 2008. All in less than 15 minutes and it would have taken less than that if my programming skills were better.
As a comparison, I would challenge anyone to do a similar comparison manually or using some other approach to grabbing this data from the old legacy HTML/ASCII filings. How long would that take?
OK, so now for the issue. In the analysis you see "*** No Value Found ***" for Citigroup Inc. What is up with that? Well, Citigroup did not use the concepts that I was looking for, you can see those on the list. You can take a look at Citigroup Inc.'s taxonomy here (line 219). Citigroup reorganized the taxonomy a little. You can see the US GAAP Taxonomy for financial institutions here.
There is nothing wrong with this. This is particularly true, in my view, because Citigroup created a new concept which help you recognize that they change the definition of the net change in cash, you can see the concept they added to their taxonomy here (line 271). No big deal, I can adjust my model and even my tool for grabbing this information for how Citigroup configured this information.
Another thing I want to point out is the linking that I am doing here. See how I provided links to the US GAAP Taxonomy, the Citigroup taxonomy, and so forth. That makes for communicating these issues much easier. These are simple web pages with IDs in them or other useful mechanisms for hooking to a specific location in some information set.