As of March 16, 2020, the FDIC has restricted building access and instituted a mandatory telework policy for all employees due to the COVID-19 national emergency. Therefore, for the time being, we may not have immediate access to FOIA and Privacy Act requests sent by U.S. mail, overnight mail services, or fax. As a result, our responses to mail and fax inquiries will be delayed. To ensure a more timely response to your request, we strongly advise you to submit requests electronically via firstname.lastname@example.org or the FDIC FOIA Public Access Link (PAL). If you have recently submitted a request to us by mail or fax, please feel free to resubmit that request electronically.
Welcome to the FDIC's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Service Center. Here you can browse for a wealth of information about the operations and activities of the FDIC and find easy-to-follow instructions for filing a FOIA request.
If you have already filed a FOIA request with us, you can check on the status of your request by calling the FDIC FOIA Service Center at (202) 898-7021. The FOIA Service Center is open Monday through Friday (except for federal holidays) from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. ET.
What is the FOIA?
The FOIA is a federal statute (5 U.S.C. § 552) which affords any person the right to obtain federal agency records unless the records (or a part of the records) are protected from disclosure by any of the nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions. The FDIC has issued Regulation 12 C.F.R. § 309.5 implementing the FOIA.
What Information about the FDIC is Already Available?
The first place to start when you are looking for information about the FDIC is right here: our public website, www.fdic.gov. This website is a comprehensive source of FDIC information and it is all available at your fingertips! Our website includes consumer guides, videos, and podcasts; research papers; statistics and data concerning the banking industry and economic trends; supervision manuals; news; speeches and testimony; information about events; laws and regulations; bank applications; and more. The FDIC also publishes its Annual Report and Strategic Plan on the site.
Browse through the relevant sections of the website or use the search feature (by clicking on the magnifying glass at the top of each webpage) to locate the information you need. In addition, the FOIA Reading Room provides links to the most commonly requested FDIC FOIA records.
If you prefer paper records, the FDIC maintains a public reading room, known as the Public Information Center (PIC), at 3501 North Fairfax Drive, Room E-1002, Arlington, VA 22226. The PIC is open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET on business days; non-FDIC personnel on-site visits are by appointment only.
You may also want to consult this index of the FDIC's major information systems that support its operations. In addition, the FDIC's Records Disposition Schedule contains a comprehensive subject matter index which lists various record filing systems. To receive a copy of the FDIC's Records Disposition Schedule, contact the Legal Division FOIA/PA Group at 550 17th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20429, or via fax at (703) 562-2797.
How Do I File a FOIA Request?
If you have reviewed the public information available on the FDIC's website and checked the information available through the FOIA Reading Room but still can't find what you’re looking for, then you may want to consider filing a FOIA request.
Step 1. Find Out if the Information You Want is Available
Make sure that the records you seek are available under the FOIA. Click here to see descriptions of the nine categories of records that are exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. If the records you seek fall into one of these categories, they may be withheld in full or in part. For example, bank examination reports and related examiner work papers are exempt from disclosure under the FOIA.
After considering whether the records you seek fall into one of these nine categories, proceed to Step 2.
Step 2. Calculate Costs
There may be a fee associated with searching for records under the FOIA. Persons requesting records from the FDIC will be charged for the direct costs of search, review, and duplication, unless such costs are less than $10.00. You can view the FDIC's fee schedule here or you can call the FDIC's FOIA Service Center at (202) 898-7021 for additional information.
Step 3. File Your FOIA Request
Once you have determined the records are not exempt under the FOIA and you have calculated the costs of making a request, you can move forward to filing your FOIA request. The easiest way to file a FOIA request is electronically using the FDIC's Electronic Request Form.
If you prefer, you can file a request in writing. Please address it to the FDIC, Legal Division, FOIA/PA Group, 550 17th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20429. You can also fax your FOIA request to 703-562-2797 or send it via email to email@example.com.
All FOIA requests must be received in writing or by using our Electronic Request Form. FDIC regulations require that you state at the time you make your request the maximum amount of fees you are willing to pay.
The Privacy Act permits a person to seek access to agency records pertaining to him or herself, provided the record is maintained within a "system of records" (i.e., a group of any records under the control of the agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or some identifying number, symbol or other identifying particular assigned to the individual). Several exemptions apply, however. Privacy Act requests for information in the FDIC's files must be in writing, and sent to the same address as FOIA requests. To learn more, see the FDIC's Privacy Act regulations published in 12 C.F.R. Part 310.
Step 4. Processing
The FOIA allows agencies a period of 20 business days to process an initial request. This period may be extended under unusual circumstances by an additional 10 business days or more. Records may have to be retrieved from offices and divisions in Washington as well as other field sites. Some records may be in storage, and some requests may seek voluminous records. Because of these factors, it can be difficult to estimate a completion date for a request until the request has been logged into our system and a preliminary search has been conducted.
You can check on the status of your request online if you filed it electronically, or by calling the FDIC FOIA Service Center at (202) 898-7021.
We appreciate your patience as we review and process your FOIA request.
Step 5. Make an Appeal
If your FOIA request is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. Click here to learn about the administrative appeal process available to you if the records you seek under the FOIA are not made available to you.
Step 6. Share Your Comments
Would you like to comment on the FDIC's FOIA program? Send your suggestions or comments to the FDIC Legal Division in writing at FOIA/PA Group, 550 17th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20429 or via fax at (703) 562-2797.
Step 7. Resolve FOIA Problems
If you are having problems with a pending FOIA request, please contact the our FOIA Public Liaison, FDIC Ombudsman M. Anthony Lowe, by email at MLowe@fdic.gov or telephone at 312-382-7552.