Farm Credit Administration:

Analysis of Administrative Expenses and Funding Through Assessments

GAO-01-949: Published: Aug 2, 2001. Publicly Released: Aug 2, 2001.

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The Farm Credit Administration (FCA) regulates the farm credit system. Administrative expenses, which accounted for about 97 percent of FCA's total operating expenses of $34.5 million in fiscal year 2000, are funded primarily by assessments on the institutions that make up the system, including the Federal Agricultural Mortgage Corporation (Farmer Mac). This report (1) analyses trends in administrative expenses for fiscal years 1996 through 2000 and (2) compares ways that FCA and other federal financial regulators calculate the assessments they need to fund their operations. GAO found that although FCA's administrative expenditures varied each year between 1996 and 2000, they remained below 1996 levels and stayed within congressionally imposed annual spending limits for each year during 1997 through 2000. Between 1996 and 2000, the agency experienced a decline in administrative spending of around $2 million, or 5.8 percent. Personnel costs were the largest single expense, consistently accounting for more than 80 percent of administrative spending; thus, a 15 percent staff reduction also provided the greatest overall savings. Unlike many government agencies whose operations are funded by taxpayers' money, the federal financial regulators are self-funded agencies that rely primarily on assessments from the entities they regulate. In calculating these assessments, FCA and the other federal financial regulators use separate methodologies for primary and secondary market entities.

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