Reports & Testimonies

GAO’s reports and testimonies give Congress, federal agencies, and the public timely, fact-based, non-partisan information that can improve government operations and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

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Community Development Financial Institutions: Analysis of Annual and Emergency Assistance and Treasury Efforts to Address Program Risks

GAO-23-105952
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People in low- and moderate-income communities don't always have access to traditional financial institutions, like large banks. Community Development Financial Institutions are smaller, community-based organizations that provide financial services to help fill this gap. The Department of the Treasury receives federal funding to support these institutions—including $12 billion in emergency COVID-19 support in FY 2021. To help this support reach more communities, Treasury allowed higher-risk...

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Supplemental Material for GAO-23-105459: SEC Personnel Survey Results

GAO-23-106234
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The Securities and Exchange Commission oversees financial markets. To do so, it needs to attract and retain a high-quality workforce. We routinely report on SEC's personnel management practices. For our latest report, we surveyed SEC employees on their views of SEC's personnel management practices related to recruitment, training, staff development, leadership, organizational culture, and more. We surveyed mission-critical employees—931 nonexecutives and 78 senior officers. More...

Securities and Exchange Commission: Employee Views of Personnel Management Improved, but Action Needed on Measuring Diversity and Inclusion Goals

GAO-23-105459
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The Securities and Exchange Commission oversees financial markets. To do so, it needs to attract and retain a high-quality workforce. We surveyed SEC employees on their views of SEC's personnel management practices. Since 2013, when we first reported on this topic, employees' views on morale and other issues have improved. Employees also have favorable views of SEC's efforts to ensure a diverse and inclusive workforce...

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Federal Reserve Lending Programs: Risks Remain Low in Related Credit Markets, and Main Street Loans Have Generally Performed Well

GAO-23-105629
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The Federal Reserve's emergency lending programs helped support access to credit for businesses, employers, state and local governments, and others during the COVID-19 pandemic. The last of these programs stopped purchasing assets or extending credit by the end of July 2021. Since these programs have stopped extending credit, we found that: Corporations and small businesses generally have easy access to credit Municipalities' borrowing costs have...

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Troubled Asset Relief Program: Status of Remaining Housing Programs

GAO-23-106099
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Through the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Treasury provided $33 billion to 3 federal programs to help prevent home foreclosures. We reviewed the status of these programs. The Hardest Hit Fund ended in March 2022. The Short Refinance program is slated to wind down by the end of 2022. The Making Home Affordable (MHA) program is slated to wind down by early 2024. Treasury has already...

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Financial Services Industry: Overview of Representation of Minorities and Women and Practices to Promote Diversity

GAO-23-106427
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We have issued several reports since 2017 reviewing the share of women and different racial/ethnic groups in the financial services industry, challenges associated with recruiting and retaining diverse staff, and practices to expand opportunities. We testified about these reports and how the financial services industry is addressing challenges and expanding opportunities. For instance firms are: assessing data on the diversity of their employees conducting targeted...

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Financial Aid Offers: Action Needed to Improve Information on College Costs and Student Aid

GAO-23-104708
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The ways colleges present cost and aid information in their financial aid offers vary—making it difficult for students to compare offers and assess college affordability. According to best practices, colleges should estimate the net price—how much a student will pay to attend that college—by deducting only grants and scholarships from all key costs like tuition, books, housing, and meals. But about 91% of colleges understate...

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Export-Import Bank: Loan and Loan Guarantee Program Updates in Response to COVID-19

GAO-23-105560
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The Export-Import Bank of the United States created or modified four programs to help businesses that export goods and services address the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the Bank provided a loan through a new program, and either expanded or waived certain requirements to existing programs so that more borrowers could get help. The Bank documented these relief measures and communicated them...

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Securities and Exchange Commission: Additional Guidance Needed for Assessing Staff Procedures

GAO-23-105465
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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversees financial markets. Each year, SEC assesses if a set of staff procedures for examinations, investigations, and securities filings reviews were well-designed, current, and effective. FY 2021 was the first year that SEC had written guidance to ensure the consistency of these assessments. While the guidance generally helped, we found opportunities for enhancement. For example, SEC could use program...

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Financial Audit: Securities and Exchange Commission's FY 2022 and FY 2021 Financial Statements

GAO-23-105791
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The Securities and Exchange Commission enforces securities laws that protect investors. The SEC collected $3.2 billion in penalties for securities law violations in FY22. Some of that goes to the Investor Protection Fund, which rewards whistleblowers and supports investor education. We audit and issue opinions annually on SEC and Fund financial statements and on related internal controls (e.g., processes to reasonably assure that transactions are...

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Financial Audit: Office of Financial Stability's (Troubled Asset Relief Program) FY 2022 and FY 2021 Financial Statements

GAO-23-106015
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Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program was originally authorized to spend $700 billion to help prevent the U.S. financial system's collapse in 2008. As of September 30, 2022, TARP spent $443.7 billion. But after repayments, dividends, and more, the estimated lifetime cost of TARP programs will be $31.8 billion. We audit and issue an opinion annually on TARP's financial statements and on related internal controls (e.g...

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Financial Audit: Bureau of the Fiscal Service's FY 2022 and FY 2021 Schedules of Federal Debt

GAO-23-105586
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Treasury's Fiscal Service issues debt to borrow money for federal operations, and reports the debt on financial statements called the Schedules of Federal Debt. As of Sept. 30, 2022, the federal debt was $30.9 trillion—up $2.5 trillion from FY 2021, and interest on the debt was $724 billion, an increase of $149 billion from FY 2021. We audit and issue opinions annually on the Schedules...

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Private Health Insurance: Markets Remained Concentrated through 2020, with Increases in the Individual and Small Group Markets

GAO-23-105672
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Several companies may be selling health insurance in a given market, but, as we previously reported, most people usually enroll with one of a small number of insurers. Known as market concentration, this can result in higher premiums due to less competition in the market. We found this pattern continued in 2019 and 2020, with the markets for individuals and for small employers generally becoming...

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Export-Import Bank: Additional Documentation about Stakeholder Roles and Clarity about Fraud Risks Would Strengthen Antifraud Efforts

GAO-22-105340
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The Export-Import Bank of the United States supports American jobs by facilitating U.S. exports. It offers loans, loan guarantees, and other help to U.S. companies that cannot obtain private financing for their deals. It may assume risks that the private sector won't, including risk of losses due to fraud. The bank has adopted antifraud practices as required by law. We reviewed its 2020-2021 transactions to...

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Bank Supervision: Lessons Learned from Remote Supervision during Pandemic Could Inform Future Disruptions

GAO-22-104659
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During the COVID-19 pandemic, federal banking regulators couldn't examine most banks and credit unions in person. So, they changed certain examination practices, especially at smaller institutions. For example, they rescheduled examinations and reviewed scanned copies of loan files. We found that 3 of 5 regulators who have risk management programs also Updated their programs to reflect pandemic-related changes in risk Reviewed pandemic lessons learned The...

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Export-Import Bank: Status of End-Use Monitoring of Dual-Use Exports as of August 2022

GAO-22-106090
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The Export-Import Bank's mission is to support U.S. jobs by facilitating U.S. exports through loans, loan guarantees, and insurance. According to its policy, the Bank generally cannot finance defense goods and services unless they are nonlethal and primarily used for civilian rather than military purposes. The Bank monitors these "dual-use" items to ensure they are used mostly for civilian purposes. We report each year on...

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Bank Secrecy Act: Action Needed to Improve DOJ Statistics on Use of Reports on Suspicious Financial Transactions

GAO-22-105242
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Illegal financial activity can threaten safety and national security. Banks must report potentially illegal transactions to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which makes the reports available to law enforcement agencies to help with investigations. But law enforcement agencies usually don't track data on the usefulness of these reports, so FinCEN can't provide feedback to banks about the reports' effectiveness. To facilitate this feedback, the...

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Student Loans: Education Has Increased Federal Cost Estimates of Direct Loans by Billions Due to Programmatic and Other Changes

GAO-22-105365
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The federal Direct Loan program helps students and their parents pay for higher education. The Department of Education's estimates of the program's cost have increased substantially over the last 25 years: shifting from generating $114 billion in income for the government to costing $197 billion. Cost estimates increased because of changes to the program and Education's assumptions about how the loans will be repaid. These...

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Credit Reform: Transparency Needed for Evaluation of Potential Federal Involvement in Projects Seeking Loans

GAO-22-105280
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Federal loans are available for projects that align with policy goals—such as infrastructure for clean water. Before a 1990 law, agencies had to get appropriations from Congress for the full amount of any loans they made. The law allowed agencies to factor estimated repayments into the cost of some loans—letting them make more loans from smaller upfront appropriations. For example, in FY 2021, $7 billion...

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Priority Open Recommendations: Securities and Exchange Commission

GAO-22-105604
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Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations. This report outlines our 3 priority open recommendations for the Securities and Exchange Commission as of May 2022. For example, we recommended ways the SEC can improve...