GAO offers ‘clean’ opinion for CFPB in FY ’23, as agency spent – and collected – billions

The federal consumer financial protection agency spent $2.75 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2023 to do its work, the congressional watchdog reported Wednesday while also giving the agency a “clean opinion” regarding its financial statements.

The statements also show that the agency ramped up, considerably, its assessment of monetary penalties in FY 2023, to $1.87 billion.

“In FY 2023, we found the statements were reliable and that controls over financial reporting were effective,” the Government Accountability Office (GAO) said in a release regarding its audit of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The audit was conducted as required by federal law, which mandates that the CFPB prepare financial statements annually and that the GAO audit those statements.

More specifically, the GAO said its audit found:

  • The bureau’s financial statements as of and for the fiscal years ended Sept. 30, 2023, and 2022, are presented fairly, in all material respects, in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP);
  • CFPB maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of Sept. 30; and
  • No reportable noncompliance for fiscal year 2023 with provisions of applicable laws, regulations, contracts, and grant agreements that the GAO tested.

The CFPB reported that in FY 2023 the agency:

  • Generated $1.87 billion in civil money penalties (CMPs), which is more than eight times what it generated the previous year ($221.8 million).
  • Spent $1.7 billion more in FY ’23 than in the previous year (when the agency reported total gross program costs of $1.033 billion).
  • Counted 1,677 employees, up from 2022 (by 45), and up 17% from five years previously (2019).

Financial Audit: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s FY 2023 and FY 2022 Financial Statements