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Topics: CFPB

Federal consumer bureau that regulates credit cards can't regulate its own employee card use

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Watchdog,Richard Pollock,Watchdog Blog,CFPB,Waste and Fraud,Credit Cards

Officials at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau consider themselves to be the champions of "financial literacy." To help educate poorly informed consumers, the bureau has launched an educational program dedicated to "improving financial literacy opportunities for consumers."

One of the agency's many such programs is designed to help consumers manage their own credit cards.

Based on the findings of a Sept. 30 inspector general's report that looked into the bureau's own control over agency-issued travel cards, some of its leaders might consider enrolling the financial literacy program.

The Federal Reserve System's IG found that the consumer bureau had such poor controls over its employees' use of travel credit cards that its own employees charged a total of $1,880 of unauthorized transactions on CFPB credit cards.

The bureau also improperly reimbursed its employees for "unallowable laundry and dry-cleaning transactions," and transactions for lodging and meals.

CFPB's travel office could not ensure its employees could not exceed their daily cash advance limit, and it failed to close out cards in a timely manner for fired or separated employees who had left the bureau.

The bureau's travel office also failed to send out past-due notifications to cardholders, their supervisors or the chief financial officer as rules required. The inspectors also found the agency's supervisors did not properly submit or approve travel authorization.

The IG office said its findings were "based on sample testing." However, the inspectors warned, "Total noncompliance may be greater than our results indicate."

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