OIG cites lower-quality NCUA data submission for 1Q fiscal 2019 awards, recommends improvements

Improvements in the timeliness and source linkages for community development award data reported to Treasury by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) are recommended in a Nov. 8 report of the credit union regulator’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

The report details findings of the OIG’s audit of NCUA’s compliance with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act), which requires agencies to disclose direct agency expenditures and link contract, loan, and grant spending information to programs, “thereby enabling taxpayers and policy makers to more effectively track federal spending,” the report explains. NCUA reports such data based on funds awards through the Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF), the only program at the NCUA that receives federal appropriations.

The OIG found that the agency’s DATA Act submission was complete and timely, but it found problems in the sample of records reviewed related to the agency’s submission of fiscal first-quarter 2019 data. For that period, the report states, the NCUA submitted lower quality financial and award data for publication on USASpending.gov, primarily as a result of its award-level submission. Even so, the OIG wrote that the agency’s internal controls over source systems and the summary-level DATA Act submission effectively managed and reported financial data in accordance with the DATA Act.

The OIG report notes the various files submitted in compliance with the DATA Act. One of these – File D2, Award and Awardee Attributes (Financial Assistance) – is the subject of the four recommendations by the OIG. The agency has agreed to implement these, as follows:

  • That NCUA management timely publish its financial assistance award data in accordance with applicable DATA Act reporting schedules. (The agency says it will have updates completed by June 30, 2010.)
  • That NCUA management link the File D2 Action Date element to the appropriate authoritative source, which provides the date the action being reported was issued/signed by the agency or a binding agreement was reached. (The agency agreed to complete its update by June 30, 2020.)
  • That NCUA management implement internal controls to ensure that File D2 reflects the legal business name and the physical address identical to SAM.gov (the government’s System for Award Management) at the time of the financial assistance award and this information is not changed in the agency system or SAM at any other point in the awarding process. (NCUA said it will make updates by Dec. 31, 2020.)
  • That NCUA management ensure the appropriate authoritative source links to the File D2 data elements. (NCUA stated that it will update processes by Sept. 30, 2020, “to examine the flow of data from authoritative sources to the File D2 data elements, assessing and documenting the appropriateness of the authoritative sources.”)

Audit of the NCUA’s Compliance under the Digital Accountability And Transparency Act of 2014