The General Accountability Office yesterday released its audit of the financials for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which offer a peek behind the curtain to the inner workings of one of the most shrouded government regulators.
For example, the Bureau spent $214 million on employee compensation during the 2016 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That amount is up from $192 million during the 2015 fiscal year. The CFPB had 1,649 employees at the end of the 2016 fiscal year, up from 1,529 a year earlier.
Nearly half of the CFPB’s employees — 44% — are employed in the supervision, enforcement, and fair lending department, compared with 28% in operations, 10% in research, market & regulations, and 5% in the legal division and 5% in the consumer education & engagement units.
The GAO’s assessment identified one “significant” deficiency in how the CFPB is “accounting for property, equipment, and software that collectively represent a significant deficiency in CFPB’s internal control over financial reporting, which is consistent with our fiscal year 2015 assessment for this area.”
The significant deficiency, however, did not appear to worry either the GAO or the CFPB, and did not keep the GAO from signing off on the CFPB’s financials.
Included in the report are breakdowns about the CFPB’s rental agreements for office space, a breakdown of how much each of the agency’s different programs cost, compared with last year, and information about the civil penalty fund, which is where most of the money goes when the CFPB assesses a fine as part of an enforcement action. As of September 30, the civil penalty fund had $170 million in it, which is used to reimburse consumers who are the victim of harmful actions at the hands of a financial services organization. The CFPB disbursed $130 million to consumers in the 2016 fiscal year, down from $159 million a year earlier.
On the expenses side, there appear to be no major increases between 2015 and 2016 in terms of areas of its operation where it spent a significant amount more this year.
The 128-page report breaks down many of the financials that go into running the CFPB and should be a must-read for anyone who cares to know the inner workings of one of the most important government agencies that impacts the collection industry.