Category Archives: Financial Markets and Institutions

Understanding Derivatives One Swap at a Time

Did you ever agree to swap your PB&J sandwich for your friend’s bologna sandwich? If so, you did a nonfinancial swap. Since the 1980s, bankers have applied that basic concept to create financial contracts to swap a wide range of … Continue reading

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What You Need to Know about Mortgages and Equity

Ah, springtime: when “for sale” signs start popping up with the daffodils and crocuses! Before you call your real estate agent, you might want to read up on some of the more technical aspects of homebuying—like exactly what homeownership can … Continue reading

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It’s 10 PM–Do You Know Where Your Financial Data Is?

Advancements in technology like the Internet and smartphones are changing how we pay, borrow, and invest. Financial technology (a.k.a. fintech) products—including payments, lending, wealth management, and others—generally provide benefits to consumers, such as convenience and lower costs. But there are risks … Continue reading

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What Does It Take to Work on Wall Street?

Is the financial field still a “boys only” club? And who has the skills and credentials to work on Wall Street? Today’s WatchBlog explores these questions and our recent report on the management-level representation of women and minorities and diversity … Continue reading

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May the Fourth Be Well Insured

You should have pretty good insurance before handing your car keys to Han Solo. While we don’t have insights into the Millennium Falcon’s insurance policy, the federal government has helped the commercial space launch industry since 1988 by sharing the … Continue reading

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Small Businesses and Financial Technology

In today’s world, it’s not unusual for people to go online to conduct all kinds of business that used to be done face-to-face. It is not surprising then that new technologies are being used to provide financial services directly to … Continue reading

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Taking a Big Bite in GAO’s New Podcasts

The concept behind GAO’s original Watchdog Report podcast was to take a long report and distill it to a 5-minute conversation about the bottom line. We think it’s been pretty well received—we have over 400,000 downloads of our episodes and … Continue reading

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How Useful Are Identity Theft Services?

Many people purchase identity theft services—or receive them free when their information is compromised in an organization’s data breach. These services typically include four components: credit monitoring, identity monitoring, identity restoration, and identity theft insurance. For April’s Financial Literacy Month, … Continue reading

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6 years after Dodd-Frank, Oversight of Financial Services Industry Still Needs Streamlining

Today is the 6th anniversary of the signing of the Dodd-Frank Act. The law made a range of financial reforms meant to help prevent future financial crises. For example, it closed gaps in the oversight of consumer protection and markets … Continue reading

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Financial Regulatory Structure (podcast)

Over the past 150 years, the U.S. financial regulatory structure has evolved in response to various financial crises and to keep pace with financial markets themselves as they advanced from tickertape to e-trading and beyond. As you can see, the … Continue reading

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