By Brecken Branstrator
Warwick, R.I.—The Jewelers Board of Trade has decided how it will handle and report its credit ratings amid the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement released Friday, JBT President Erich Jacobs said it will continue with its current methodology, allowing it to provide the most accurate information about store closings, changes in financial position and overall operational changes in operations.

“With a solid pre-COVID-19 baseline to work from, maintaining our current methodology will help everyone comprehend the scale and speed of the eventual upswing.”

JBT will ask members to submit their data as they did before, without any modifications, but now will also ask them to highlight if any special terms or extensions were granted so the aggregated data “isn’t unintentionally skewed by unanticipated member credit modifications.”

And, to show how COVID-19 is impacting jewelry businesses, every JBT Credit Report also will include the rating of the business or firm as it stood prior to the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

JBT also is building a web-based solution for jewelry business owners to provide updated information and their latest trade references once recovery has begun.

The organization said the decision to keep its methodology as is and list the ratings as such came after two weeks of consulting with members, management and its listed firms.

Opinions ranged, Jacobs said, from not changing anything to freezing everything until this is all over.

But what the discussions did make apparent, he added, is that no one knows when the economic crisis created by COVID-19 will bottom out and what recovery will look like.

Because of this, Jacobs said changing JBT’s methodology to meet conditions as they are now “would be asking for trouble,” especially since it will be difficult to know when to return to its original system.

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