Financial regulators have work to do on developing and tracking fintech skills of staff, watchdog says

GAO report highlights financial agencies’ shortcomings in technology training and data collection with oversight and policymaking staff.
The concept of financial security, fintech.
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Federal regulators are falling short on ensuring that their staffs have the proper technological skills and knowledge of financial technology to conduct policymaking and oversight, according to a Friday report from the Government Accountability Office.

The agencies examined by the GAO include the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), the Federal Reserve, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). 

The GAO found that these agencies have not collected data on the fintech skills of oversight and policymaking staff with any regularity, nor have they fully identified the requisite skills. Knowledge of machine learning and artificial intelligence were cited as skills that aren’t currently tracked in a comprehensive, data-driven way.

The GAO provided the regulators with 12 recommendations; the CFPB, FDIC, OCC and Fed did not agree or disagree, but indicated that they would move forward to implement the recommendations. 


Each regulator at least partially follows the recommended workforce planning practices, the GAO found. The only exceptions were the CFPB and OCC; the former has not conducted strategic workforce planning and the latter has not monitored and evaluated progress for performance goals and measures, per the report.

The federal prudential regulators — the FDIC, Fed, NCUA and OCC — have each stated in agency-wide policy documents and plans the importance of financial technology preparedness. And the CFPB, Fed and OCC have all acknowledged that their staff need to have some understanding of the underlying technology. 

To move forward with better fintech knowledge for oversight and policymaking, the GAO recommends “that all five agencies collect staff skillset data and fully incorporate leading workforce planning practices.”

Caroline Nihill

Written by Caroline Nihill

Caroline Nihill is a reporter for FedScoop in Washington, D.C., covering federal IT. Her reporting has included the tracking of artificial intelligence governance from the White House and Congress, as well as modernization efforts across the federal government. Caroline was previously an editorial fellow for Scoop News Group, writing for FedScoop, StateScoop, CyberScoop, EdScoop and DefenseScoop. She earned her bachelor’s in media and journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after transferring from the University of Mississippi.

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