Agency should again use bank survey data in developing economic inclusion plan, OIG recommends

Obtaining bank survey data, or some other mechanism, for developing economic inclusion strategic plans (EISP) in the future for the federal bank deposit insurance program is among the recommendations made by the agency’s inspector general in a new report issued Thursday.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s (FDIC) Office of Inspector General (OIG) made 14 recommendations for improving future EISPs by the agency. The report was issued to determine whether the FDIC had developed an effective strategic plan to increase the participation of unbanked and underbanked consumers in the insured banking system.

(In 2022, the agency released results of its 2021 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households [2021 Household Survey]. The survey found, among other things, that an estimated 4.5% of U.S. households were unbanked – meaning no one in the household had a checking or savings account at a bank or credit union.)

The OIG said its latest report was intended to determine whether the FDIC developed and implemented an effective strategic plan to increase the participation of unbanked and underbanked consumers in the insured banking system. The evaluation found that the agency generally did that – but could strengthen results by ensuring goals and objectives outlined match up.

“Specifically, we recommend that the FDIC develop and implement formal policy and guidance for the formulation of future EISPs, leveraging strategic planning best practices,” the OIG wrote. “We recommend that the FDIC resume obtaining bank survey data or implement another mechanism, to gain the perspectives of banks and incorporate this information in the Agency’s future EISP efforts.”

Other recommendations including that the FDIC:

  • Develop and implement consistent assessment and progress reporting for all EISP goals and objectives, and ensure that the expressed intent of annual FDIC Performance Goals related to economic inclusion matches the goals and objectives articulated in the EISP.
  • Track internal staffing costs and identify whether the FDIC needs to reallocate resources for economic inclusion initiatives to meet EISP goals and objectives.
  • Ensure that risk mitigation strategies identified for the economic inclusion-related Enterprise Risk Management Risk Inventory item clearly address and effectively reduce risks related to implementing strategic objectives, effective controls, and responsive programs to promote economic inclusion.

The OIG reported that the FDIC concurred with all recommendations and proposed corrective actions that were sufficient to address the intent of the recommendations. The agency plans to complete the corrective actions by the end of next year, the OIG stated.

FDIC Efforts to Increase Consumer Participation in the Insured Banking System