The Government Accountability Office said in a new report that oversight of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program has improved, but still needs better mechanisms for tracking the flow and impact of the money.
The GAO said in its report that, to better track the use of taxpayer dollars being invested in U.S. banks, the Treasury Department now requires the 20 largest recipients to report each month on their loan balances and originations.
The banks also are required to provide a narrative account of trends in their lending activities and to describe any changes they have made in their lending standards.
Through Jan. 23, the Treasury Department had distributed $293.7 billion in TARP funds. The bulk of that money went to 317 U.S. banks that sold preferred stock to the government as part of a plan to strengthen their balance sheets and spur lending.
As it did in its first report last month, the GAO called on the Treasury Department to more clearly articulate its strategy and goals for the program. And it recommended that officials take steps to ensure that the banks and other companies getting government aid comply with the program’s restrictions, which include limits on executive compensation, stock buybacks and dividend increases for other shareholders.
To read the full report, click on this link.