Reports & Testimonies

  • GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.

    GAO’s recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented. You can explore open recommendations by searching or browsing.

    GAO's priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. These recommendations are labeled as such. You can find priority recommendations by searching or browsing our open recommendations below, or through our mobile app.

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

    Our Priorities for Policy Makers app makes it easier for leaders to search our recommendations on the go.

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

    • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
    • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.
  • « Back to Results List Sort by   

    Results:

    Subject Term: Loans

    3 publications with a total of 11 open recommendations
    Director: William B. Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help business disaster victims and resource partners better access information about the disaster loan process, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should integrate information resources such as the fact sheet, reference guide, and three-step process flier into its disaster loan assistance web portal and Partner Training Portal in a way that is more accessible to users.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the disaster loan assistance portal includes links to various loan-related resources and a link to SBA.gov, where users can access the SBA Disaster Loan Program Reference Guide and online learning center. We will continue to follow up with SBA on whether the agency plans to centrally integrate the links to loan-related resources into its disaster loan assistance web portal and Partner Training Portal, so resources can be more accessible to users.
    Recommendation: To help reduce confusion about the disaster loan process and the time frames applicants may experience, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should ensure the consistency of content across its disaster loan process resources by including in these written and online resources, as appropriate, the following: (1) the three-step process; (2) the types of documentation SBA may request and the general reasons why such information may be requested; and (3) estimates of loan processing time frames applicants might experience and external factors, such as the severity of a disaster, that may affect these time frames using, for example, estimates from its forecasting and related planning tools.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the agency has provided a consistent messaging about the timeframe for making approval decisions on disaster loan applications: SBA's goal is to make a decision on all home and business disaster loan applications within 2-3 weeks, and this loan approval timeframe also is referenced in other loan-related resources and media interviews. We will continue to follow up with SBA on whether the agency plans to (a) ensure informational content is consistent across written and online resources, (b) also include in written and online resources the types of documentation SBA may request and general reasons for the information requests, and (c) tailor the general 2-3 week loan decision timeframe to the each disaster, including the severity of the disaster and other factors that may affect the timeframe, by using the agency's forecasting and related planning tools.
    Recommendation: To further assist disaster business loan applicants, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should define technical terminology related to financial statements and other finance terminology on the disaster business loan application forms, in both electronic and paper format. For example, in the online application portal, SBA could incorporate a glossary in the "help" feature. Additionally, SBA could include a glossary in the paper application, so that business applicants who apply by mail can access the definitions as well as the general reasons why such information may be requested.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the agency is developing a glossary of business financial terms to clearly define terminology used in SBA home and business disaster loan applications and required supporting financial documents. Once completed, SBA stated that it will make the glossary available through the agency's disaster loan assistance portal and the SBA.gov website. We will follow up with SBA once the agency completes the glossary of business financial terms.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA assesses the effectiveness of its programs, the SBA Administrator should prioritize resources to conduct additional program evaluations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA has taken several steps to prioritize resources to conduct additional program evaluations. First, in August 2016 the agency hired a lead program evaluator to develop a long-term evaluation agenda and technical guidance and manage SBA's Impact Evaluation working group. Specifically, the position description for this lead evaluator states that his/her duties include planning, coordinating, and overseeing SBA's program evaluation framework and agendas; serving as an expert advisor on program evaluation methods and design; and coordinating complex, multi-year program evaluation contracts, projects, and studies for the agency. Second, in August 2017 SBA finalized a program evaluation framework that outlines the structure of the agency's program evaluation function, defines roles and responsibilities, and establishes guiding principles. We are reviewing this evaluation framework to determine SBA's plans for additional evaluations.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's human capital management, the SBA Administrator should incorporate into its next training plan key principles such as goals and measures for its training programs and input on employee development goals.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2016, SBA issued a talent development plan for fiscal years 2016-2017. We are reviewing the plan and other information provided by SBA to determine if the agency incorporated key principles.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA's organizational structure helps the agency meet its mission, the SBA Administrator should document the assessment of the agency's organizational structure, including any necessary changes to, for example, better ensure areas of authority, responsibility, and lines of reporting are clear and defined.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, SBA sent us a letter documenting its assessment of the work of a contractor hired to examine its organizational structure and actions it had decided to take regarding the agency's organizational structure. We are reviewing this letter to determine if it fully responds to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's program and management guidance, the SBA Administrator should set time frames for periodically reviewing and updating its SOPs as appropriate.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, SBA updated its standard operating procedure (SOP) on issuing directives, including SOPs. The updated SOP calls for an annual certification of SOPs. The head of each program office is required to certify in writing as to the status of SOPs that have previously been issued by his/her office. If the SOP is currently being revised, or being canceled, the office head must provide a date by which this process is expected to be completed. SBA officials told us in October 2017 that they had successfully completed the 2017 certification process. We are awaiting documentation showing completion of the process.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to help ensure that SBA's IT operations and maintenance investments are continuing to meet business and customer needs and the agency's strategic goals, the SBA Administrator should direct the appropriate officials to perform an annual operational analysis on all SBA investments in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2016, SBA had not completed two of the required operational assessments.
    Director: Clowers, Angela N
    Phone: (202)512-4010

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help resolve identified borrower noncompliance in a timely manner, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of RHS to implement enforcement mechanisms that can be tailored to the severity of the borrower noncompliance, such as the civil money penalty enforcement provision in its program regulations.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency continues to take actions to address this recommendation, but has not yet fully implemented it.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that requirements for tenant eligibility are met across the FLH portfolio, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of RHS to require its loan servicers to use the Systematic Alien Verification and Entitlements (SAVE) program administered by the Department of Homeland Security to verify tenant's residency status during supervisory reviews.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency has not implemented this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of RHS to better utilize available data on demand for the FLH program--such as systematically reviewing local market analyses, further analyzing occupancy data on a statewide, regional, or national level, and retaining and analyzing application information--to help target available funding to areas of greatest need.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency continues to take actions to address this recommendation, but has not yet fully implemented it.