Podcast on Expectations of Government Support for Large Bank Holding Companies

GAO Podcast IconThe perception among investors and credit agencies that a bank is “too big to fail” may affect how that bank’s holding company competes in financial markets.

Hear our podcast with Lawrance Evans, Jr., a director in GAO’s Financial Markets and Community Investment team, who led a recent look at how expectations of government support affect large bank holding companies.

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The Evolution of GAO Graphics

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As GAO has produced reports over the years, we’ve used graphics to help showcase our findings. With innovations in how we publish our reports, our graphic style has changed dramatically over the past 30 years.
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Sharing Health Records for Servicemembers and Veterans

Thumbnail Health CareThe Departments of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) operate two of the nation’s largest health care systems, providing care to more than 9.6 million active-duty servicemembers and 6.3 million veterans. For many years, DOD and VA have known that better sharing of health care data could help them: Continue reading

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Podcast on Medical Credit Cards

GAO Podcast IconFinancial institutions offer medical credit cards through participating providers to pay for services not covered by health insurance. These services may include dental and cosmetic procedures, or veterinary care.

Hear our latest podcast with Cindy Brown Barnes, a director in GAO’s Financial Markets and Community Investment team, who led a recent look at the marketplace for medical credit cards.

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Tracking Progress on Financial Stability and Reform

thumbnail_financeIn response to the worst financial crisis in more than 75 years, U.S. policymakers undertook wide-ranging reforms. For example, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Dodd-Frank Act) aims, among other things: Continue reading

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Celebrating GAO’s 93 Years with Some Glimpses into History

thumbnail_gaoHere at GAO, we strive for accountability, integrity, and reliability in the work we do, but the way we do it evolves with time. As the month of July marks GAO’s 93rd anniversary, we thought we would share a few snapshots of GAO’s office culture over the years. Continue reading

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The Risks of Virtual Currencies

GAO Podcast IconIn February 2014, the Mt. Gox virtual currency exchange filed for bankruptcy, stating that a security breach resulted in the loss of bitcoins worth more than $460 million at the time. This incident is one of many real-world illustrations of the risks involved in using virtual currencies. In June, we released a report on virtual currencies and related consumer protection, regulatory, and law enforcement challenges. You can hear our podcast on it below.

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Questionable Business Practices and Pension Advances

thumbnail retirement securityPensions, in addition to Social Security, are what allow millions of middle-class retirees to maintain a reasonable standard of living. Any loss of pension benefits (partial or otherwise) can significantly affect a retiree’s ability to pay monthly living expenses, medical bills, or other unexpected expenses. Unfortunately, some companies may be attempting to take advantage of financially distressed retirees by offering pension advances. We released a report earlier this week that identified at least 38 companies that offered lump-sum payments in exchange for receiving part or all of a retiree’s pension payments. Continue reading

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Climate Change Adaptation and National Security

thumbnail_defenseIn a new report, we assessed the Department of Defense’s (DOD) actions to adapt its U.S. infrastructure to the challenges of climate change. While it’s not possible to link any individual weather event to climate change, these events provide insight into potential climate-related vulnerabilities. Continue reading

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Our Independence

Security guards raising American and GAO flagsOn July 4th, Americans celebrate our country’s adoption of the Declaration of Independence, which expressed the ideals of political and individual freedom upon which our country and government were founded. We at GAO uphold these ideals as we work to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to maximize the federal government’s benefits to the American public.

GAO’s mission and core values are centered on providing information that is objective, fact-based, nonpartisan, nonideological, fair, and balanced. Therefore, we adhere to an additional kind of independence: All GAO employees working on audits must be capable of providing objective and impartial judgment, and maintain both independence of mind and independence in appearance. Continue reading

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