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    Subject Term: "Financial regulators"

    5 publications with a total of 22 open recommendations
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure quality information is conveyed to servicemembers about how the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) interest rate cap applies to student loans, the Secretary of Defense should direct the secretaries of each service branch, and work with other secretaries as appropriate, to ensure that all information about the SCRA interest rate cap for student loans is accurate when provided to servicemembers and to those who work with servicemembers to help them obtain SCRA benefits, including information contained in outreach materials.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) disagreed with this recommendation believing it to be unnecessary because it is already providing accurate information. Specifically, DOD noted that the information provided in several documents GAO reviewed is accurately based on statute whereas Education's updated requirement to automatically apply the cap is based on policy that could change in the future. Moreover, the automated process applies only to federal and commercial FFEL student loans in contrast to other types of debt. DOD said that providing information based on statute rather than policy would cause less confusion and was a better approach than what we recommend. However, our report noted that Education formalized the automated process through federal regulations, effective July 2016, which legally require servicers to use this process for all federal and commercial FFEL loans. In addition, DOD said it was unable to verify whether DOD's Military OneSource website inaccurately states that the SCRA rate cap does not apply to commercial FFEL loans. However, our searches of the website still turned up this inaccuracy. DOD said it would look into a means of verifying website information but that in the meantime, it is satisfied that its training provides correct information. Given that Military OneSource is a key source of information for servicemembers and that some documents DOD provided state that the SCRA rate cap does not apply to student loans, we continue to believe that servicemembers are not always receiving accurate and up-to-date information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that all eligible servicemembers with student loans receive the SCRA interest rate cap, the Attorney General should direct the Department of Justice to consider modifying its proposed changes to SCRA to require use of the automatic eligibility check for private student loans.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of the Attorney General
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Justice (DOJ) stated that its current package of proposed legislative changes provides benefits to servicemembers with all kinds of loans, including private student loans. Rather than requiring servicemembers to submit written notice and a copy of military orders, they need only give oral or written notice of eligibility for the cap to their creditors. Creditors would then have to search the Department of Defense's records to verify the servicemembers' military service and apply the SCRA interest rate cap, when applicable. DOJ believes that these changes would significantly benefit all servicemembers with loans while providing a uniform standard for all types of creditors. The department added that it will consider its proposed changes to SCRA in future legislative proposals and plans to obtain feedback from stakeholders on how to improve SCRA's protections for servicemembers. However, as stated in our report, servicemembers with private student loans would still need to be aware of the rate cap in order to give notice, whether written or oral. Therefore, we encourage DOJ to consider updating its current proposal to require use of the automatic eligibility check by all student loan lenders and servicers. Not only would this ensure that servicemembers with private student loans receive a benefit for which they are eligible, but also that the interest rate cap is applied consistently across all types of student loans. The agency said that it would consider these changes to the SCRA in future legislative proposals and plans to obtain feedback from stakeholders on how the agency can propose to improve the SCRA's protections for servicemembers. However, as stated in our report, servicemembers with private student loans would still need to be aware of the rate cap in order to give notice, whether written or oral. Therefore, we encourage DOJ to consider updating its current proposal to require use of the automatic eligibility check by all student loan lenders and servicers. Not only would this ensure that servicemembers with private student loans receive a benefit for which they are eligible, but also that the interest rate cap is applied consistently across all types of student loans.
    Recommendation: To enhance customer service, the Secretary of Education should direct the Office of Federal Student Aid to identify ways to modify the data collected in its unified borrower complaint system to allow the agency to more precisely identify and analyze complaints specifically about the SCRA interest rate cap.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education said it is committed to accurately tracking the types of complaints it receives and will create a complainant subcategory for SCRA under the "Military and Veterans Benefit" category. In addition, it will continue to run periodic key word searches to identify other complaints that may have been miscategorized by the complainant, related to the requirements of the SCRA, and ensure that they are considered appropriately. GAO will consider closing this recommendation when the department has provided evidence that it has completed these efforts.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that servicemembers with private student loans benefit from the SCRA interest rate cap, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Attorney General of the Department of Justice should coordinate with each other, and with the four federal financial regulators, as appropriate, to determine the best way to ensure routine oversight of SCRA compliance for all nonbank private student loan lenders and servicers. If CFPB and DOJ determine that additional statutory authority is needed to facilitate such oversight, CFPB and DOJ should develop a legislative proposal for Congress.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) stated that it is committed to working with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and federal financial regulators, when possible, to facilitate oversight of SCRA compliance and that it will support all relevant federal agencies in using their respective authorities to identify and address SCRA violations as efficiently and effectively as possible. While CFPB coordinates with DOJ and other federal regulators in general, there is still no single agency authorized to enforce SCRA compliance among nonbank private student loan lenders and servicers, and no entity is conducting onsite supervisory reviews of these lenders and servicers. In addition, while CFPB may refer complaints from servicemembers about the SCRA rate cap for private student loans to DOJ and other financial regulators, we believe this does not constitute routine, proactive oversight and also presumes servicemembers are aware of the SCRA rate cap. GAO will consider closing this recommendation when the bureau has provided evidence of actions it has taken to facilitate routine oversight of SCRA compliance for all nonbank private student loan lenders and servicers.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that servicemembers with private student loans benefit from the SCRA interest rate cap, the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Attorney General of the Department of Justice should coordinate with each other, and with the four federal financial regulators, as appropriate, to determine the best way to ensure routine oversight of SCRA compliance for all nonbank private student loan lenders and servicers. If CFPB and DOJ determine that additional statutory authority is needed to facilitate such oversight, CFPB and DOJ should develop a legislative proposal for Congress.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of the Attorney General
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Justice (DOJ) believes that it is in full compliance with this recommendation and that the four federal financial regulators do not have statutory authority to examine nonbank private student loan lenders and servicers unaffiliated with a depository institution. DOJ stated that it already coordinates extensively with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the financial regulators concerning SCRA compliance through such mechanisms as referrals from CFPB for any SCRA-related violations and access to its consumer complaint database, and regular meetings with CFPB, and that it will continue to be built upon these efforts. While these mechanisms are commendable, GAO believes they do not constitute exercising routine oversight of nonbank private student loan lenders and servicers who are not affiliated with a depository institution. We believe that additional interagency coordination, including working with CFPB to seek additional statutory authority, as needed, is necessary to ensure routine SCRA compliance.
    Director: Alicia Puente Cackley
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that adequate data collection efforts by state insurance regulators produce sufficient, reliable data to oversee the LPI market, NAIC should work with the state insurance regulators to develop and implement more robust policies and procedures for the collection of annual data from LPI insurers to ensure they are complete and reliable.

    Agency: National Association of Insurance Commissioners
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that adequate data collection efforts by state insurance regulators produce sufficient, reliable data to oversee the LPI market, NAIC should work with the state insurance regulators to complete efforts to obtain more detailed national data from LPI insurers.

    Agency: National Association of Insurance Commissioners
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Clowers, Angela N
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that OMB, in consultation with federal financial regulators, consistently classifies Dodd-Frank rules as major under CRA, the Director of OMB, through the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, should issue additional guidance to help standardize processes for identifying major rules under CRA, including on the extent to which agencies should submit rules to OMB for review, such as whether agencies should submit only those rules their analyses indicate are major or all rules.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: OMB originally disagreed with the recommendation and has not taken any action to implement the recommendation as of June 2017.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that OMB, in consultation with federal financial regulators, consistently classifies Dodd-Frank rules as major under CRA, the Director of OMB, through the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, should issue additional guidance to help standardize processes for identifying major rules under CRA, including on how agencies should apply CRA's major rule criteria in their analyses, such as whether agencies should include indirect benefits or costs, combine benefits or costs of separate but related rules, or aggregate benefits or costs for jointly issued rules.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: OMB originally disagreed with the recommendation and has not taken any action to implement the recommendation as of June 2017.
    Director: Clowers, Angela N
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As SEC works to enhance its oversight of FINRA, the SEC Chairman should encourage FINRA to conduct retrospective reviews of its rules and establish a process for examining FINRA's reviews.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As SEC works to enhance its oversight of FINRA, the SEC Chairman should direct Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) to follow all elements of a risk-management framework as it develops plans for an enhanced risk-based approach to FINRA oversight, such as developing plans for how it will prioritize risks related to oversight of FINRA and assessing the effectiveness of its risk-based model.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Clowers, Angela N
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    11 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To strengthen the rigor and transparency of their regulatory analyses, the federal financial regulators should take steps to better ensure that the specific practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance are more fully incorporated into their rulemaking policies and consistently applied.

    Agency: National Credit Union Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, NCUA told us that it is nearing completion of agency internal policies that standardize and institutionalize the rulemaking process within NCUA. According to agency officials, these policies will document NCUA's current practice related to OMB's regulatory analysis guidance. The policies will be issued to appropriate staff by the end of 2016. At that time, we will review the policies to review the extent to which they incorporate the practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency: National Credit Union Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, NCUA noted that all of the agency's regulations are reviewed at least every three years, during an established rotation, so that every year one-third of the agency's regulations are open to comment from the public. NCUA reported that it recently launched a comprehensive multi-year project to update the agency's main data collection and analytic systems. Agency officials stated that the updates will ensure that the agency collects the data needed to assess the effectiveness and impact of applicable regulations. We will continue to monitor NCUA's progress in updating its information systems for purposes of retrospective reviews.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, the federal banking regulators sent Congress their report of the second Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act (EGRPRA). Under EGRPRA, the regulators must jointly conduct a review of their regulations every 10 years and consider whether any of the regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome. The regulators included within their review's scope some regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act. To carry out the EGRPRA review, the regulators generally solicited public comments on their covered regulations through Federal Register notices and public outreach meetings. Although the regulators addressed some of the issues raised by EGRPRA commenters to reduce regulatory burden, they generally focused on identifying regulatory burdens, as required by the law, and not on measuring the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act regulations to assess the extent to which they are achieving their intended purposes. For this reason, our recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To strengthen the rigor and transparency of their regulatory analyses, the federal financial regulators should take steps to better ensure that the specific practices in OMB's regulatory analysis guidance are more fully incorporated into their rulemaking policies and consistently applied.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: We sought information from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in May 2016 regarding the status of the recommendation, but did not receive any new information. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their efforts, the federal financial regulators have begun to take steps to address challenges associated with promulgating hundreds of new rules required under the Dodd-Frank Act. To maximize the usefulness of the required retrospective reviews, the federal financial regulatory agencies should develop plans that determine how they will measure the impact of Dodd-Frank Act regulations--for example, determining how and when to collect, analyze, and report needed data.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, the federal banking regulators sent Congress their report of the second Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act (EGRPRA). Under EGRPRA, the regulators must jointly conduct a review of their regulations every 10 years and consider whether any of the regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome. The regulators included within their review's scope some regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act. To carry out the EGRPRA review, the regulators generally solicited public comments on their covered regulations through Federal Register notices and public outreach meetings. Although the regulators addressed some of the issues raised by EGRPRA commenters to reduce regulatory burden, they generally focused on identifying regulatory burdens, as required by the law, and not on measuring the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act regulations to assess the extent to which they are achieving their intended purposes. For this reason, our recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: Commodity Futures Trading Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, CFTC officials stated that FSOC has written protocols for consulting on rules for which coordination is required under the Dodd-Frank Act. Specifically, in May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: To enhance interagency coordination on regulations issued pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, the FSOC should work with the federal financial regulatory agencies to establish formal coordination policies that clarify issues such as when coordination should occur, the process that will be used to solicit and address comments, and what role FSOC should play in facilitating coordination.

    Agency: National Credit Union Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, NCUA stated that it continues to work closely with the other federal financial agencies regarding rulemaking, and formally coordinates with them during joint rulemaking initiatives. Agency officials said they would comply with any future coordination guidance provided by FSOC. In May 2015, FSOC created the Regulations and Resolutions Committee to identify potential gaps in regulation that could pose risks to the U.S. financial stability. The committee's duties include serving as a forum for information sharing and coordination among the FSOC staff, member agencies and other federal and state agencies, as appropriate, regarding domestic financial services policy development, and consulting, as appropriate, on the development of regulations to implement the Dodd-Frank Act's orderly liquidation authority. While the committee's duties should help promote greater collaboration, they do not constitute a formal rulemaking coordination policy addressing, for example, when coordination should occur, processes for soliciting and addressing comments, and FSOC role in facilitating coordination among and between the financial regulators. In its 2010 comment letter, FSOC noted that it provides a forum for interagency collaboration and consultation, in part through its committees, and has not indicated any plans to develop a formal rulemaking coordination policy as we recommended, in part because of its need to preserve the independence of the regulators. Therefore, the recommendation remains open.