Created by statute in July 2008, FHFA is charged with serving as regulator of the Enterprises and the FHLBanks. Additionally, in September 2008, FHFA placed the Enterprises in conservatorship and undertook the extraordinary dual role of supervisor and conservator. FHFA’s conservatorships of the Enterprises are of unprecedented scope, scale, and complexity. FHFA continues to serve in a unique role: it is both conservator and regulator of the Enterprises and regulator of the FHLBanks, and these dual roles present novel challenges.
FHFA-OIG began operations on October 12, 2010. It was established by HERA, which amended the Inspector General Act. Because FHFA has been placed in the extraordinary role of regulator and conservator of the two Enterprises, which support over $5 trillion in mortgage loans and guarantees, FHFA-OIG must structure its oversight program to examine FHFA’s exercise of its dual responsibilities. Beginning in Fall 2014, FHFA-OIG determined to focus its resources on programs and operations that pose the greatest financial, governance, and/or reputational risk to the Agency, the Enterprises, and the FHLBanks in order to best leverage its resources to strengthen oversight.
FHFA-OIG promotes economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of FHFA’s programs and operations, including its conservatorships of the Enterprises and protects FHFA and the entities it regulates against fraud, waste, and abuse, contributing to the liquidity and stability of the nation’s housing finance system. We accomplish this mission by providing independent, relevant, timely, and transparent oversight of the Agency in order to promote accountability, integrity, economy, and efficiency; advising the Director of the Agency and Congress; informing the public; and engaging in robust enforcement efforts to protect the interests of the American taxpayers.
FHFA-OIG executes its oversight mission through risk identification and assessment, audit, evaluation, and compliance projects and reports and through investigations, supported by its Executive Office, Office of Chief Counsel, Office of Administration and Office of Internal Controls and Facilities.
Office of Administration
The Office of Administration provides critical administrative support functions. It manages and oversees FHFA-OIG administration, including budget, human resources, financial management, IT, and procurement. For human resources, this Office develops policies to attract, develop, and retain exceptional people, with an emphasis on linking performance planning and evaluation to organizational and individual accomplishment of goals and objectives. It also coordinates budget planning and execution and oversees all of FHFA-OIG’s procedural guidance for financial management and procurement integrity.
Office of Audits
The Office of Audits designs and conducts independent performance audits with respect to the Agency’s programs and operations and makes recommendations for improvement, where applicable. It also undertakes projects to address statutory requirements and stakeholder requests. For example, the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 (IPIA), as amended, requires Inspectors General annually to audit FHFA’s compliance with IPIA during the prior fiscal year. Additionally, the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA) directs Inspectors General annually to perform an independent evaluation of whether FHFA’s and FHFA-OIG’s information security programs and practices meet FISMA’s security requirements.
Under the Inspector General Act, Inspectors General are required to comply with the audit standards promulgated by the Comptroller General of the United States. This Office performs its audits in accordance with these standards, which are known as Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards or GAGAS.
This Office publishes the results of its assessments in reports and memoranda that can be found on the left hand column of this website, under Audits and Evaluations, Risk Assessments, White Papers and Other Action Items.
Office of Chief Counsel
The Office of Chief Counsel to the Inspector General serves as the chief legal advisor to FHFA-OIG and provides independent legal advice, counseling, and opinions about its programs and operations. It supports risk assessments, audits, compliance reviews, evaluations, investigations and special projects by ensuring that each report is legally sufficient and in compliance with FHFA-OIG’s policies. Additionally, it serves as FHFA-OIG’s designated ethics office; reviews drafts of FHFA regulations and policies and prepares comments as appropriate; manages FHFA-OIG’s Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act responsibilities; and furnishes attorney services for the issuance and enforcement of FHFA-OIG subpoenas.
Office of Compliance and Special Projects
The Office of Compliance and Special Projects addresses the reputational risk arising from the practical necessity of closing FHFA-OIG recommendations based largely upon representations from the Agency. Pursuant to the Inspector General Act, IGs recommend remedial actions to correct shortcomings identified through reviews of agency programs and operations. When an agency accepts an IG recommendation and takes steps to begin implementation of the corrective action, the agency reports on its efforts to the IG and the IG typically relies on materials and representations from the agency to close the recommendation.
This Office is charged with several critical responsibilities. First, it consults with each division in the development of recommendations to ensure that such recommendations, if accepted and implemented, will be susceptible to follow-up verification testing. Second, it tracks, in real time, the status of all FHFA-OIG recommendations, from issuance to closure to subsequent follow-up and testing. Third, it consults with each division prior to closure of a recommendation to facilitate application of a single standard across the office for closing recommendations. Last, it conducts verification testing on closed recommendations to verify independently whether FHFA has implemented in full the corrective actions it represented to FHFA-OIG that it intended to take and makes recommendations for improvement, where applicable. The results of its verification testing are published in compliance reviews.
This Office also undertakes special projects, which includes reviews and administrative investigations of hotline complaints alleging non-criminal misconduct and assessments of significant ongoing issues that, in FHFA-OIG’s view, require prompt attention from FHFA leadership. This Office performs its compliance reviews and special projects in accordance with the Quality Standards for Inspection and Evaluation (Blue Book), issued by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency.
Office of Evaluations
The Office of Evaluations conducts independent and objective assessments of FHFA programs and operations and makes recommendations for improvement, where applicable. The Inspector General Reform Act of 2008 requires that IGs adhere to the Blue Book in conducting evaluations, and this Office performs its evaluations in accordance with the Blue Book. It publishes the results of its assessments in reports and memoranda that can be found on the left hand column of this website, under Audits and Evaluations, White Papers and Other Action Items.
The Executive Office provides leadership and programmatic direction for FHFA-OIG’s offices and activities.
Office of Internal Controls and Facilities
The Office of Internal Controls and Facilities manages and oversees FHFA-OIG’s workplace safety and facilities in support of its program-wide operations. It also manages the implementation of FHFA-OIG’s internal controls program in compliance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-123 on Management’s Responsibility for Enterprise Risk Management and Internal Control and the Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government (Green Book).
Office of Investigations
FHFA-OIG is vested with statutory law enforcement authority that is exercised by its Office of Investigations. This Office is staffed with highly trained law enforcement officers, investigative counsels, analysts, and attorney advisors. It conducts criminal and civil investigations into those, whether inside or outside of government, who waste, steal, or abuse government monies in connection with programs and operations of FHFA and the entities it regulates. To maximize criminal and civil law enforcement, this Office works closely with other law enforcement agencies, including the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation, and state and local law enforcement entities nationwide.
Depending on the type of misconduct uncovered, investigations conducted by this Office may result in criminal charges, civil complaints, and/or administrative sanctions and decisions. Criminal charges filed against individuals or entities may result in criminal prosecutions, plea agreements, incarceration, restitutions, fines, and penalties. Civil claims can lead to settlements or verdicts with restitutions, fines, penalties, forfeitures, assessments, exclusion of individuals or entities from participation in federal programs, administrative sanctions and personnel actions.
Office of Risk Analysis
Central to FHFA-OIG’s ability to vigorously oversee the Agency’s programs and operations is our ability to identify and assess emerging risks and revise our work plan to accommodate them. To assist in executing this portion of our mission, the Office of Risk Analysis was established. This Office uses data mining and quantitative analytics to identify, analyze, monitor, and prioritize emerging and ongoing risks. Its efforts enable FHFA-OIG to strategically align and employ its resources against such risks and thereby fulfill our oversight responsibility. Its assessments of emerging risks are published in white papers that can be found on the left hand column of this website, under White Papers.