Federal Reserve System:

Current and Future Challenges Require Systemwide Attention

T-GGD-96-159: Published: Jul 26, 1996. Publicly Released: Jul 26, 1996.

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GAO discussed the Federal Reserve System's major operational activities and expenses. GAO noted that: (1) in 1994, about 70 percent of the Federal Reserve's operating costs were for payment system and other financial services to financial institutions and government agencies, 20 percent were for regulatory activities, and 10 percent were for monetary policy activities; (2) employees' pay and benefits accounted for almost 70 percent of the Reserve's operating expenses; (3) almost 80 percent of Federal Reserve employees were involved in support activities, overhead, and financial services, monetary and economic policy activities and Board of Governors staff accounted for less than 10 percent of the total staff, and bank supervision and regulation accounted for about 12 percent of Federal Reserve staff; (4) the Federal Reserve must face a number of challenges such as rising costs, the reduced demand for financial services and supervisory adjustments because of the banking industry's consolidation, and the use of banks' external audits to supplement and guide bank examinations; and (5) the System needs to streamline its operations and address challenges in cost-effective ways on a systemwide basis.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: GAO is tracking this recommendation in connection with report GGD-96-128.

    Matter: Congress should consider the results of the Federal Reserve System's Board of Governors' operational assessments and determine what changes to the Federal Reserve's operations and structure would be desirable.


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