Find out more about some of the terms used.

  • These definitions should be read in conjunction with the Group’s accounting policies as set out in the annual financial statements, which also clarify certain terms used.

Amounts written off

Once an advance has been identified as impaired and an impairment allowance has been raised, circumstances may change and indicate that the prospect of further recovery does not exist. Write-offs will occur when, and to the extent that, the debt is considered irrecoverable. A write-off policy based on an age-driven concept drives the timing and extent of write-offs.

A write-off can also be triggered by a specific event, such as the conclusion of insolvency proceedings or other formal recovery actions, making it possible to quantify the extent of the advance that is beyond a realistic prospect of recovery. Assets are only written off once all necessary procedures have been completed and the amount of loss has been determined. Recoveries of amounts previously written off, are reversed and accordingly decrease the amount of the reported impairment charge in the statement of comprehensive income.

Approaches (FIRB, AIRB, AMA and IMA)

Methods available to banks to calculate their regulatory capital requirements, based on their own risk estimates. These include the foundation internal ratings-based (FIRB) and advanced internal ratings-based (AIRB) approaches for credit risk, the advanced measurement approach (AMA) for operational risk and the internal models approach (IMA) for market risk.

Average interest-bearing assets

Average interest-bearing assets consist of all accounts that are not impaired and thus attract interest within the asset categories of cash, cash balances and balances with central banks, loans and advances to banks and customers and investment securities (including cash and short-term assets, money market assets and capital market assets).

Balance sheet

The term “balance sheet” is used in the same context as the “statement of financial position”.


Absa Bank Limited, together with its subsidiary undertakings, special-purpose entities, joint ventures, associates and offshore holdings. It is also referred to as “the Bank” or “Absa Bank” in this report.

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