FDIC Annual Freedom of Information Act
Fiscal Year 2007 (For the period 10/01/06 through 09/30/07)
I. Basic Information Regarding
A. The FDIC contact
person for questions about this report is Fredrick Lee Fisch, Supervisory
Counsel, FDIC Legal Division, 550
17th St. N.W., Room MB-2110, Washington, DC 20429; Telephone (202)
898-6901; FAX (202) 898-6910.
C. A paper copy of this
report may be obtained by downloading it from the FDIC Web Site or by
requesting a copy from the FDIC Public Information Center, 3501 N. Fairfax
Drive, # E-1002, Arlington, VA 22226; Telephone (703) 562-2200, or
(877) 275-FDIC (3342).
II. How to Make a
FOIA Request to the FDIC
A. Where to submit a FOIA request to the FDIC.
All FOIA requests are
processed by the FDIC Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)/Privacy Act Group
in Washington, DC. Requests must be in writing and directed to the FOIA/Privacy
Act Group, FDIC Legal Division, 550 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20429.
Requests may also be submitted electronically through the FDIC's Electronic FOIA Office on the web site at
FDIC publication entitled, “FOIA Guide – Gaining Access to FDIC
Information” explains in detail how to submit a FOIA request to the FDIC.
The FOIA Guide is available on the FDIC web site at
B. Response times.
FDIC seeks diligently to comply with the statutory time period for
responding to FOIA requests. Response times range from 1 day to several
months in rare cases. The vast majority of requests are fulfilled within
20 business days, and many of those are fulfilled within 5 business days.
C. Exempt information.
Some FOIA requests are denied in whole or in part because the information
requested is exempted from disclosure by the FOIA (5 U.S.C. §552 (b)). The exemptions most often applicable to information
requested from the FDIC include (b)(4), (b)(5), (b)(6) and (b)(8). The
FDIC receives a great deal of privileged and private financial information
concerning individuals, businesses, and banking entities by virtue of its
roles as a federal financial institution regulatory agency, as well as the
appointed receiver of virtually all failed U.S. depository institutions.
Therefore, exemptions (b)(4) and (b)(6) are invoked to withhold
confidential or privileged material. The FDIC is also the primary
regulator of most state-chartered financial institutions and therefore
prepares or receives bank examination reports and related material. Such
records are exempted from FOIA disclosure in order to promote frank
communications between financial institutions and the FDIC examination
staff and to maintain stability in the financial system. Accordingly, the
FDIC invokes FOIA exemption (b)(8) for these purposes. Other exemptions,
such as (b)(2), (b)(7)(A), or (b)(7)(C) are used occasionally. In some cases, records
cannot be located.
III. Definitions of Terms and Acronyms Used
in this Report
There are no FDIC-specific acronyms or other terms used in this report.
Basic report terms expressed in common terminology include:
1. FOIA/PA request
– Freedom of Information
Act/Privacy Act request. A FOIA request is generally a request for access
to records concerning a third party, an organization, or a particular
topic of interest. A Privacy Act request is a request for records
concerning oneself; such requests are also treated as FOIA requests. (All
requests for access to records, regardless of which law is cited by the
requester, are included in this report.)
2. Initial Request
– A request to FDIC for access to
records under the Freedom of Information Act.
– A request to FDIC asking that it
review at a higher administrative level a full denial or partial denial
of access to records under the Freedom of Information Act, or any other FOIA determination such as a matter pertaining to fees.
4. Processed Request or Appeal – A request or appeal for
which FDIC has taken a final action on the request or the appeal in all
5. Multi-track processing
– A system in which simple
requests requiring relatively minimal review are placed in one processing
track and more voluminous and complex requests are placed in one or more
other tracks. Requests in each track are processed on a first-in/first-out basis. A requester who has an urgent need for records may request
expedited processing (see below).
6. Expedited processing
– The FDIC will process a FOIA
request on an expedited basis when a requester has shown an exceptional
need or urgency for the records which warrants prioritization of his or
her request over other requests that were made earlier.
7. Simple request – A FOIA request that FDIC
(using multi-track processing) places in its fastest (non-expedited)
track based on the volume and/or simplicity of the records requested.
8. Complex request
– A FOIA request that FDIC
(using multi-track processing) places in a slower track based on the
volume and/or complexity of records requested.
9. Grant– A decision to disclose all records in full response to a FOIA request.
10. Partial grant
– A decision to disclose a record in
part in response to a FOIA request, deleting information determined to be
exempt under one or more of the FOIA exemptions; or a decision to
disclose some records in their entirety, but to withhold others in whole
or in part.
11. Denial – A decision not to release any part of
a record or records in response to a FOIA request because all the
information in the requested records is determined to be exempt under one
or more of the FOIA's exemptions, or for some procedural reason (such as
because no record is located in response to a FOIA request).
12. Time limits
– The time period in the Freedom of
Information Act for the FDIC to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20
working days from proper receipt of a "perfected" FOIA request).
13. Perfected request – A FOIA request for
records which adequately describes the records sought, which has been
received by the FDIC's FOIA/Privacy Act Group in Washington, DC, and for
which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable
14. Exemption 3 statute – A separate federal statute
prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of information and
authorizing its withholding under FOIA subsection (b)(3).
15. Median number
– The middle, not average, number. For
example, for the numbers 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.
16. Average number – The number obtained by
dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of numbers in the
group. For example, for the numbers 3, 7, and 14, the average number is
IV. Exemption 3
A. Exemption 3 statutes relied on during the
current fiscal year:
Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e)
1. The FDIC used Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure on
one occasion to deny access to grand jury material.
2. Courts routinely uphold such use. See; Rugiero v. U.S. Department of
Justice, 257 F.3d 534 (6th Cir. 2001).
V. Initial FOIA/PA Access
A. Numbers of initial requests.
1. Number of requests pending as of end of preceding fiscal year: 29
2. Number of requests received during current fiscal year: 639
3. Number of requests processed during current fiscal year: 633
4. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: 35
B. Disposition of
1. Number of total grants: 469
2. Number of partial grants: 47
3. Number of denials: 4
(a) no records: 53
(b) referrals: 1
(c) request withdrawn: 20
(d) fee-related reason: 13
(e) records not reasonably described: 12
(f) not a proper FOIA request for some other reason: 0
(g) not an agency record: 12
(h) duplicate request: 2
(i) other (specify): 0
VI. Appeals of Initial
Denials of FOIA/PA Requests
A. Numbers of
1. Number of appeals received during fiscal year: 4
2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year: 4
B. Disposition of
1. Number completely upheld: 3
2. Number partially upheld: 0
3. Number completely reversed: 0
(a) no records: 1
(b) referrals: 0
(c) request (appeal) withdrawn: 0
(d) fee related reason: 0
(e) records not reasonably described: 0
(f) not a proper FOIA request for some other reason: 0
(g) not an agency record: 0
(h) duplicate request: 0
(i) other (specify): 0
VII. Compliance with
Time Limits/Status of Pending Requests
A. Median processing time for requests processed
during the year.
1. Simple Requests.
(a) Number of requests processed: 466
(b) Median number of days to process: 5
2. Complex requests.
(a) Number of requests processed: 163
(b) Median number of days to process: 19
3. Requests accorded expedited processing.
(a) Number of requests processed: 4
(b) Median number of days to process: 7
The FDIC received 4 requests for expedited processing and granted all
of them. Two of the requests were fulfilled in one day; one request was
fulfilled in 14 days; and the final “expedited” request, more
voluminous and covering older records, was fulfilled in 27 days.
B. Status of
1. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal
2. Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date:
with Previous Year
A. Requests received.
Prior Reporting Period: 652
Current Reporting Period: 639
Prior Reporting Period: 652
Current Reporting Period: 633
Median number of days requests were pending as of
the end of the year.
Prior Reporting Period: 10 days
Current Reporting Period: 6 days
Four requests for expedited processing were formally requested and all
E. Narrative statement. During this fiscal year, the FDIC
continued to concentrate on the full implementation of the December 14,
Executive Order # 13,392 (Improving Agency Disclosure of Information).
Past internal program reviews and a review of the FDIC’s Annual FOIA
Reports indicate that the FDIC fulfills its obligations under the FOIA
with a commitment to accuracy, timeliness, and service. The issuance of
the Executive Order, however, gave the FDIC a new opportunity to review
FOIA operations, the presentation of information to the public, customer
service practices, response times, internal training, and other aspects of
our FOIA program. The results of our review are available at
http://www.fdic.gov/about/freedom/FOIAPlan-Review2006.pdf . The FDIC’s
implementation of the Executive Order is further discussed below in
Section XII of this report.
As part of its normal review process and in
conjunction with the mandates of the Executive Order, the FDIC’s FOIA
Office focused its efforts this past fiscal year chiefly on: 1) improving
customer service and communications; and 2) ensuring the accuracy and
completeness of the records in the FOIA files. The FDIC’s FOIA results and
performance during this fiscal year confirm that customer satisfaction is
high. FOIA complaints, appeals, FDIC’s response times, and backlogs are at all-time
lows. The FDIC again reduced the number of FOIA appeals filed from a
previous all time low of
6 down to only 4. Response times for fast-track FOIA requests were again
reduced from a prior median time of only 9 business days to an even lower
5 business days. Complex requests with voluminous records in remote
locations were fulfilled in a median time of 19 days, down from the
already low 21 days in the prior reporting year. Of the 35 requests
pending at the end of the reporting year, the median pending time of the
requests was only 6 days, a reduction of an additional 4 days from the
prior reporting period. Although pleased with these results, the FDIC is
not complacent and remains committed to maintain this quality of service
on a continuing and consistent basis.
The FDIC continues to gain efficiencies by increasing the quantity and
quality of information on the web site at
www.fdic.gov . Consistent with the mandate of the FOIA, the FDIC has
posted a great deal of information to the web site, such as records
concerning regulatory proposals, filings by depository institutions,
financial and statistical data, FDIC enforcement actions, public comments,
and final orders issued from FDIC's Board of Directors. This pro-active
placement of information obviates the need for a FOIA request in many
cases and allows for the FOIA office staff to concentrate on the timely
and comprehensive fulfillment of the remaining request files.
1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel: 6
2. Number of part-time FOIA personnel: (in total work-years): 4
3. Total number of personnel (in work-years): 101
B. Total costs
(including staff and all resources).
Fee Schedule April 4, 2005
In accordance with 12 C.F.R. § 309.5(f), the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation hereby sets forth the
fees to be charged for the production of agency records.
These fees will be effective for requests submitted no less
than thirty days from the above date of issuance. Persons
requesting records from the FDIC shall be charged for the
direct costs of search, review and duplication as set forth
at 12 C.F.R. § 309.5(f), unless such costs are less
than $10.00. The following fees shall be in effect until further notice.
Personal computer rate -- $1.84 per hour of use (in addition to hourly
CD -- $1.00 (plus data/labor costs)
Mainframe computer data costs: (plus hourly labor rates, if applicable)
CPU processing -- $0.18 per second
Disk I/O -- $0.35 per 1000 transactions
Tape I/O -- $0.20 per 1000 transactions
Printing -- $0.88 per 1000 lines
reports, manuals and other products are offered at set prices by agency
components which produce them. Prices may be obtained upon request.
Description of modification
of FOIA Improvement Plan under the Executive Order.
The FDIC has issued one modification of its FOIA
Plan, Review and Report filed pursuant to
Executive Order 13,392
(Improving Agency Disclosure of Information). This modification was made
on October 27, 2006 and was added to explain the procedures the FDIC
employs to fulfill FOIA requests if they remain open after the passage of
twenty business days.
Report on the FDIC’s
implementation and performance under the Executive Order.
Upon passage of the Executive Order, the FDIC immediately went to work on the
fulfillment of its mandates. The FDIC Chairman timely designated the
General Counsel to be the Chief FOIA Officer. The Chief FOIA Officer
timely designated the FDIC Ombudsman to be the FDIC’s FOIA Public Liaison.
Counsel in the FDIC’s FOIA Office, under the direction of the Chief FOIA
Officer, provided the Ombudsman’s Office with substantive FOIA training,
as well as an overview of the FOIA Public Liaison’s duties and
responsibilities under the Executive Order.
Under the further guidance of Chief FOIA Officer, in 2006, the FDIC’s FOIA
Office undertook a complete review, revision and modernization of each
electronic page of the FDIC’s FOIA web site. This included a review of the
“FOIA Guide—Gaining Access to Information,” which informs the public on
how to request records under the FOIA and how to achieve the best results.
The review also included a revision and up-grade of the FDIC’s
inter-active telephonic status request system. This inter-active
telephonic component of the FDIC’s FOIA Service Center enables requesters
to check on the status of their pending FOIA requests and speak directly
to a FOIA Office staff member during regular business hours. The system
operates 24 hours a day electronically to answer many questions for those
who may not have Internet access. Along with the FOIA Office staff, this
updated conversant/inter-active telephone status request system and the
web site form the nucleus of the FDIC’s FOIA Service Center.
The FDIC timely placed its FOIA Service Center into full operation and
filed its Plan, Review and Report with the Attorney General and OMB
Director. From June 2006, when all of these components were formally
integrated into the FOIA Service Center, through December 31, 2007, the
FDIC’s FOIA Service Center has operated without any complaints from FOIA
requesters, inquirers, or other users.
The FDIC has also maintained full Internet FOIA request capability for
greater than ten years. This illustrates the foresight the FDIC employed
in 1997 to enable this capability for the public, and the benefits from it
have benefited both. Communications have dramatically improved with
increased use of the FOIA web site, and request processing times have
steadily declined during this same time period. The number of FOIA
requests submitted through the FDIC’s FOIA web site has now risen to over
60% of all requests. These actions by FDIC management foreshadowed both
the Executive Order and the OPEN Government Act of 2007 that was signed
into law on December 31, 2007.
Among the improvement areas cited by the FDIC in its Plan, Review and
Report were the affirmative and pro-active disclosure of information
through web sites and other means. Along with the FDIC’s other activities
in affirmatively making information available to the public, the FOIA
Service Center has raised the level and clarity of available information.
For instance, as part of the Executive Order review, we revised our
“Popular FOIA” web page to include links to web-available materials that
had traditionally been requested under the FOIA. This has enabled some
requesters to go directly to the “Popular FOIA” web page and obtain the
records they seek. Providing this redundant web link to these materials
has also made them easier to find for web surfers who know to seek
information directly from a federal agency’s FOIA web site.
In the ordinary course of FDIC business, we have also made many records
available to the public through the Public Information Center/Reading Room
in Arlington, Virginia.
During calendar year 2007, the FDIC also added to its web site 60 new
studies, reports, statistical compilations, interactive tools, and other
items of interest to the public. This includes a Spanish language version
of the popular, Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator (EDIE). In addition
to these major web site additions, the FDIC has also web-published
numerous enforcement orders, guidance letters to bankers or the public,
Community Reinvestment Act reports, filings by depository institutions or
affiliated parties, statistical and Call Report information, consumer
guidance on a variety of topics in business and banking, and information
from state and other bank regulatory agencies.
The other improvement area cited in the Plan, Review and Report was the
need for additional employee training in the proper fulfillment of FOIA
requests. The FDIC’s FOIA Office has held several internal training
meetings during this reporting period to discuss current cases and trends,
as well as solutions for fulfillment of individual files. This included
two training seminars in October 2006 and November 2007 for all
Washington, DC area FDIC employees who devote time to FOIA matters. At
each seminar, the FOIA Office staff presented several training sessions to
over 25 employees.
Additionally, the FOIA Office’s Supervisory Counsel prepared a lecture and
multi-media presentation on the FOIA, Privacy Act and disclosure under
FDIC regulations. It was presented to a group of about 25 FDIC attorneys
in December 2007 and is now being incorporated by the FDIC’s Corporate
University into an established curriculum.
Several FDIC employees not in the FOIA Office but who work on FOIA matters
attended one or more Department of Justice FOIA or Privacy Act training
courses. The FDIC also participated in all Executive Order/FOIA training
sessions conducted by the Department of Justice. This included
participation by the Deputy General Counsel, Supervisory Counsel, the
FDIC’s FOIA web site coordinator, and the FDIC’s Deputy Ombudsman.
The FDIC has reviewed the
Plan, Review and Report issued pursuant to the Executive Order and has
found no deficiencies in meeting plan milestones. All plan milestones have
Description of FOIA
The FOIA exemptions most often used by the FDIC are set forth in Section
V.B.(a) of this report. A brief description of the FOIA exemptions can be
found in the FDIC’s FOIA Guide available at
Ten oldest pending FOIA requests as of January 1, 2008, by date
FOIA consultations with other
a. Number of Consultations
Received, Processed, and Pending
Consultations Rec'd From
Other Agencies During FY07
Consultations Rec'd From Other Agencies That Were Processed by Your
Agency During FY07
(includes those received prior to FY07)
Consultations Rec'd From Other Agencies That Were Pending at Your
Agency as of October 1, 2007 (includes those received prior to FY07)
b. Ten Oldest Pending
Consultations Received From Other Agencies
1 This does not include staff at the FDIC's Reading
Room/Public Information Center, which provides readily-available records to
the public under subsections (a)(1) and (a)(2) of the FOIA.
This does not include fees collected from the Reading
Room/Public Information Center, since those fees are not generated pursuant
to requests for records under section (a)(3) of the FOIA. The Public
Information Center collected fees of $2,953.40 during the same period.
In accordance with DOJ guidance, Section XII (except
subsection F.) reports information current through December 31, 2007 rather
than the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2007.