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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Service Center

FDIC Annual Report on the Freedom of Information Act
Fiscal Year 2000 (October 1, 1999-- September 30, 2000)

I. Basic Information Regarding Report

A. Name, title, address, and telephone number of person(s) to be contacted with questions about the report:
Fredrick Lee Fisch
Senior Attorney (FOIA/Privacy Act Officer)
Office of the Executive Secretary
550 17th St. N.W., Room F-4040
Washington, D.C. 20429
(202) 898-3819

B. Electronic address for report on the World Wide Web:

C. How to obtain a copy of the report in paper form:
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
Office of the Executive Secretary
550 17th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20429
Attn: FOIA/PA Unit

II. How to Make a FOIA Request

The following is the link to the FDIC's FOIA Guide:

Requests may be made via facsimile to (202) 898-8778, through the Electronic FOIA Office on the FDIC web site, via direct e-mail to, in writing to the address in Section 1(C) above.

A. Names, addresses and telephone numbers of all individual agency components and offices that receive FOIA requests.
All requests are routed through and processed by the FDIC's Office of the Executive Secretary, located at the address listed in Section 1(C) of this report.

B. Brief description of the agency's response-time ranges.
Response times are from 1 day up to greater than six months in rare cases.

C. Brief description of why some requests are not granted.
Requests are denied or partially denied primarily under FOIA exemptions (b)(4), (b)(5), (b)(6) and (b)(8). Because the FDIC is a federal financial institution regulatory agency as well as the appointed receiver of virtually all failed depository institutions in the U.S., FDIC receives much privileged or private financial information concerning individuals, banking and business entities. Therefore, exemptions (b)(4) and (b)(6) are used frequently to withhold this exempt material. FDIC is also the primary regulator of most state-chartered financial institutions and therefore prepares or receives bank examination reports and related material. Such material is exempt from FOIA disclosure to protect the integrity of the regulatory process and to maintain stability in financial institutions, so the FDIC invokes FOIA exemption (b)(8) for these purposes. Other exemptions are used less frequently, and records sometimes cannot be located.

III. Definitions of Terms and Acronyms Used in the Report (to be included in each report)

A. Agency-specific acronyms or other terms.

B. Basic terms expressed in common terminology.
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 a federal agency for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act.
3. Appeal -- a request to a federal agency 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 an agency has taken a final action on the request or the appeal in all respects.
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 -- an agency 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 an agency using multi-track processing places in its fastest (non-expedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of records requested.
8. Complex request -- a FOIA request that an agency using multi-track processing places in a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity of records requested.
9. Grant -- an agency decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.
10. Partial grant -- an agency 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's exemptions; or a decision to disclose some records in their entireties, but to withhold others in whole or in part.
11. Denial -- an agency 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 by the agency 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 an agency 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 FOIA office of the agency or agency component in possession of the records, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.
14. Exemption 3 statute -- a separate federal statute prohibiting the disclosure of a certain type of information and authorizing its with holding under FOIA subsection (b)(3).
15. Median number -- the middle, not average, number. For example, of 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, of 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.

IV. Exemption 3 Statutes

A. List of Exemption 3 statutes relied on by agency during current fiscal year.
Exemption 3 was used twice during this fiscal year, both times invoking Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e).

V. Initial FOIA/PA Access Requests

A. Numbers of initial requests (The total of the numbers in Lines 1 and 2, minus the number in Line 3, should equal the number in Line 4).
1. Number of requests pending as of end of preceding fiscal year: 116
2. Number of requests received during current fiscal year: 800
3. Number of requests processed during current fiscal year: 850
4. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: 66

B. Disposition of initial requests.
1. Number of total grants: 551
2. Number of partial grants: 136
3. Number of denials: 19
(See § V(B)(4)(c) infra for requests withdrawn by the requester)

(a) the number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each exemption once per request).
(1) Exemption 1: 0
(2) Exemption 2: 3
(3) Exemption 3: 2
(4) Exemption 4: 94
(5) Exemption 5: 61
(6) Exemption 6: 119
(7) Exemption 7(A): 3
(8) Exemption 7(B): 1
(9) Exemption 7(C): 16
(10) Exemption 7(D): 1
(11) Exemption 7(E): 3
(12) Exemption 7(F): 1
(13) Exemption 8: 43
(14) Exemption 9: 0
4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total): 297
(a) no records: 139
(b) referrals: 59
(c) request withdrawn: 144
(d) fee-related reason: 47
(e) records not reasonably described: 4
(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

VI. Appeals of Initial Denials of FOIA/PA Requests

A. Numbers of appeals.
1. Number of appeals received during fiscal year: 36
2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year: 37

B. Disposition of appeals.
1. Number completely upheld: 5
2. Number partially upheld: 12
3. Number completely reversed: 12
(See § VI(B)(4)(c) for appeals withdrawn by the requester)

(a) number of times each FOIA exemption was used (counting each exemption once per appeal)
(1) Exemption 1: 0
(2) Exemption 2: 0
(3) Exemption 3: 0
(4) Exemption 4: 10
(5) Exemption 5: 6
(6) Exemption 6: 11
(7) Exemption 7(A): 0
(8) Exemption 7(B): 0
(9) Exemption 7(C): 1
(10) Exemption 7(D): 0
(11) Exemption 7(E): 0
(12) Exemption 7(F): 0
(13) Exemption 8: 5
(14) Exemption 9: 0
4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total): 20
(a) no records: 11
(b) referrals: 0
(c) request withdrawn: 8
(d) fee related reason: 1
(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) total number of requests processed: 831
(b) median number of days to process: 27 calendar days
2. Complex requests (specify for any and all tracks used).
The FDIC's FOIA regulations do not differentiate between simple and complex FOIA requests. They do, however, categorize requests for fast-track, normal, or expedited processing. Expedited processing is normally only granted when asked for by news media or a party whose health or physical safety is in danger, but may also be granted for other reasons at FDIC's discretion. Many of the requests encompassed in Section VII A 1 above are requests that are voluminous or complex. This median response time of 27 calendar days is 10 days less than during the prior reporting period, representing a 27% rate of increased efficiency.
3. Requests accorded expedited processing.
(a) number of requests accorded expedited processing: 19
(b) median number of days to process: 17 calendar days
A significant number of requests accorded expedited processing were complex matters requiring great attention to detail, the tasking of multiple Offices and Divisions of the FDIC, the retrieval of records from remote locations, and extensive redaction and review time. Because of the FDIC's customary diligence in dealing with members of the news media, some requesters were issued partial responses within a few days of the request's receipt. Even with the above-referenced obstacles to timely processing, the FDIC reduced response time in this category by 39 days, representing a 70% rate of increased efficiency from last year's rating period.

B. Status of pending requests.
1. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: 66
2. Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date: 29 calendar days

VIII. Comparisons with Previous Year

A. Comparison of number of requests received.
Prior Reporting Period: 921
Current Reporting Period: 800

B. Comparison of number of requests processed.
Prior Reporting Period: 951
Current Reporting Period: 850

C. Comparison of median number of days open requests had been pending as of the end of the fiscal year.
Prior Reporting Period: 35 calendar days
Current Reporting Period: 29 calendar days

D. Other statistics significant to agency:
Open FOIA requests were reduced from 116 at the beginning of the fiscal year, to 66 at the end of the fiscal year. Requests more than six months old were reduced from 10 at the beginning of this reporting period to only 1 at the end of this reporting period. Requests greater than six months old have had a steady decline at the FDIC since January 1996, when the FDIC experienced a high of 294 such requests (many of these came from the Resolution Trust Corporation, which sunset on 12/31/95 and whose operations were assumed by the FDIC). Due to the gains in productivity from the implementation of FDIC's fast-track FOIA processing program and more efficient application of technology, the FDIC has processed FOIA requests in significantly shorter time periods than during the previous reporting year. Our median processing time of 27 calendar days for this reporting period is illustrative of the seriousness with which FDIC approaches the FOIA program and shows the significant human and technological resources which FDIC has expended on the program in recent years. The number of appeals filed has also continued a trend of steady decline, illustrating increased requester satisfaction with the quality of the initial response. Requesters filed nine fewer FOIA appeals than over the prior reporting period, representing a decrease of 20%.

E. Other narrative statements describing agency efforts to improve timeliness of FOIA performance and to make records available to the public (e.g., backlog-reduction efforts; specification of average number of hours per processed request; training activities; public availability of new categories of records)
The FDIC undertakes detailed quarterly analyses of outstanding and closed FOIA requests. The results of these analyses are disseminated among top management of the FDIC in order for them to track the progress of processing FOIA requests within the various components of the agency. They are also used as a means of evaluating and continuously improving the efficiency of the central processing office for FOIA requests, the Office of the Executive Secretary FOIA/Privacy Act Unit.

The number of requests received on the FDIC's web site has increased steadily, and the FDIC has posted a great deal of information directly on the web site, such as records concerning regulatory proposals, member financial institution data, FDIC enforcement actions, and final orders issued from FDIC's Board of Directors. The on-line agency FOIA Guide also helps requesters to better target their requests and includes links to the FDIC's FOIA regulation, the Justice Department's Guide to the FOIA, and popular FOIA records.

During this fiscal year, the FDIC's Senior Attorney in charge of the agency's FOIA program and other members of the staff conducted two formal training sessions on the FOIA and the Privacy Act for agency employees who work on these issues. One session was conducted in October 1999 and focussed on issues unique to FDIC's Division that deals with the public on consumer banking issues. The other training session was given to an interdisciplinary group of FDIC employees in May 2000 and included a focus on the interplay of the FOIA with other laws, subpoenas and civil discovery. The training sessions encompassed a total audience of over 125 people and consisted of just over two hours instruction time. The FOIA Unit Senior Attorney and senior staff also issued multiple written memoranda and oral guidance to many Offices and Divisions of the FDIC, coordinated the FOIA appeals for the General Counsel, and updated both the Electronic FOIA web page and the telephonic FOIA "Hotline" interactive system.

IX. Costs/FOIA Staffing

A. Staffing levels.
1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel: 9
2. Number of personnel with part-time or occasional FOIA duties (in total work-years): 10
3. Total number of personnel (in work-years): 19*
*This does not include staff at the FDIC's Reading Room/Public Information Center.

B. Total costs (including staff and all resources).
1. FOIA processing (including appeals): $1,494,540.00
2. Litigation-related activities: $70,700.00
3. Total costs: $1,565,240.00

C. Statement of additional resources needed for FOIA compliance (optional):
None noted

X. Fees
This includes charges for search, review, document duplication, and any other direct costs permitted under agency regulations.

A. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests:
**This does not include fees collected from the Reading/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 $42,320 for the same time period.

B. Percentage of total costs:

XI. FOIA Regulations (Including Fee Schedule):
The following is the printed version of FDIC's FOIA Regulation, with an electronic version available to the public at:

§ 309.4 Publicly available records.
(a) Records available on the FDIC's World Wide Web page--

(1) Discretionary release of documents. The FDIC encourages the public to explore the wealth of resources available on the FDIC's World Wide Web page, located at: The FDIC has elected to publish a broad range of materials on its World Wide Web page, including consumer guides; financial and statistical information of interest to the banking industry; and information concerning the FDIC's responsibilities and structure.
(2) Documents required to be made available via computer telecommunications.
(i) The following types of documents created on or after November 1, 1996, and required to be made available through computer telecommunications, may be found on the FDIC's World Wide Web page located at:
(A) Final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, as well as final orders and written agreements, made in the adjudication of cases;
(B) Statements of policy and interpretations adopted by the Board of Directors that are not published in the Federal Register;
(C) Administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect the public;
(D) Copies of all records released to any person under § 309.5 that, because of the nature of their subject matter, the FDIC has determined are likely to be the subject of subsequent requests;
(E) A general index of the records referred to in paragraph (a)(2)(i)(D) of this section.
(ii) To the extent permitted by law, the FDIC may delete identifying details when it makes available or publishes a final opinion, final order, statement of policy, interpretation or staff manual or instruction. If redaction is necessary, the FDIC will, to the extent technically feasible, indicate the amount of material deleted at the place in the record where such deletion is made unless that indication in and of itself will jeopardize the purpose for the redaction.
(b) Public Information Center. The FDIC maintains a Public Information Center or "PIC" that contains Corporate records that the Freedom of Information Act requires be made available for regular inspection and copying, as well as any records or information the FDIC, in its discretion, has regularly made available to the public. The PIC has extensive materials of interest to the public, including many Reports, Summaries and Manuals used or published by the Corporation that are available for inspection and copying. The PIC is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday, excepting federal holidays. It is located at 801 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20006. The PIC may be reached during business hours by calling (800) 276-6003.
(c) Applicable fees.
(i) If applicable, fees for furnishing records under this section are as set forth in § 309.5(f) except that all categories of requesters shall be charged duplication costs.
(ii) Information on the FDIC's World Wide Web page is available to the public without charge. If, however, information available on the FDIC's World Wide Web page is provided pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request processed under § 309.5, then fees apply and will be assessed pursuant to § 309.5(f).
[Codified to 12 C.F.R. § 309.4] [Section 309.4 amended at 63 Fed. Reg. 16404, April 3, 1998, effective May 4, 1998]

§ 309.5 Procedures for requesting records.
(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section:

(1) Commercial use request means a request from or on behalf of a requester who seeks records for a use or purpose that furthers the commercial, trade, or profit interests of the requester or the person on whose behalf the request is made. In determining whether a request falls within this category, the FDIC will determine the use to which a requester will put the records requested and seek additional information as it deems necessary.
(2) Direct costs means those expenditures the FDIC actually incurs in searching for, duplicating, and, in the case of commercial requesters, reviewing records in response to a request for records.
(3) Duplication means the process of making a copy of a record necessary to respond to a request for records or for inspection of original records that contain exempt material or that cannot otherwise be directly inspected. Such copies can take the form of paper copy, microfilm, audiovisual records, or machine readable records (e.g., magnetic tape or computer disk).
(4) Educational institution means a preschool, a public or private elementary or secondary school, an institution of undergraduate or graduate higher education, an institution of professional education, and an institution of vocational education, which operates a program or programs of scholarly research.
(5) Noncommercial scientific institution means an institution that is not operated on a commercial basis as that term is defined in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and which is operated solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research, the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry.
(6) Representative of the news media means any person primarily engaged in gathering news for, or a free-lance journalist who can demonstrate a reasonable expectation of having his or her work product published or broadcast by, an entity that is organized and operated to publish or broadcast news to the public. The term news means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the general public.
(7) Review means the process of examining records located in response to a request for records to determine whether any portion of any record is permitted to be withheld as exempt information. It includes processing any record for disclosure, e.g., doing all that is necessary to excise them or otherwise prepare them for release.
(8) Search includes all time spent looking for material that is responsive to a request, including page-by-page or line-by-line identification of material within records. Searches may be done manually and/or by computer using existing programming.
(b) Making a request for records.
(1) The request shall be submitted in writing to the Office of the Executive Secretary:
(i) By completing the online request form located on the FDIC's World Wide Web page, found at:;
(ii) By facsimile clearly marked Freedom of Information Act Request to (202) 898-8778; or
(iii) By sending a letter to the Office of the Executive Secretary, ATTN: FOIA/PA Unit, 550 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20429.
(2) The request shall contain the following information:
(i) The name and address of the requester, an electronic mail address, if available, and the telephone number at which the requester may be reached during normal business hours;
(ii) Whether the requester is an educational institution, noncommercial scientific institution, or news media representative; (iii) A statement agreeing to pay the applicable fees, or a statement identifying a maximum fee that is acceptable to the requester, or a request for a waiver or reduction of fees that satisfies paragraph (f)(1)(x) of this section; and
(iv) The preferred form and format of any responsive information requested, if other than paper copies.
(3) A request for identifiable records shall reasonably describe the records in a way that enables the FDIC's staff to identify and produce the records with reasonable effort and without unduly burdening or significantly interfering with any of the FDIC's operations.
(c) Defective requests. The FDIC need not accept or process a request that does not reasonably describe the records requested or that does not otherwise comply with the requirements of this part. The FDIC may return a defective request, specifying the deficiency. The requester may submit a corrected request, which will be treated as a new request.
(d) Processing requests.--
(1) Receipt of requests. Upon receipt of any request that satisfies paragraph (b) of this section, the FOIA/PA Unit, Office of the Executive Secretary, shall assign the request to the appropriate processing track pursuant to this section. The date of receipt for any request, including one that is addressed incorrectly or that is referred by another agency, is the date the Office of the Executive Secretary actually receives the request.
(2) Multitrack processing. (i) The FDIC provides different levels of processing for categories of requests under this part. Requests for records that are readily identifiable by the Office of the Executive Secretary and that have already been cleared for public release may qualify for fast-track processing. All other requests shall be handled under normal processing procedures, unless expedited processing has been granted pursuant to paragraph (d)(3) of this section. (ii) The FDIC will make the determination whether a request qualifies for fast-track processing. A requester may contact the FOIA/PA Unit to learn whether a particular request has been assigned to fast-track processing. If the request has not qualified for fast-track processing, the requester will be given an opportunity to refine the request in order to qualify for fast-track processing. Changes made to requests to obtain faster processing must be in writing.
(3) Expedited processing. (i) Where a person requesting expedited access to records has demonstrated a compelling need for the records, or where the FDIC has determined to expedite the response, the FDIC shall process the request as soon as practicable. To show a compelling need for expedited processing, the requester shall provide a statement demonstrating that: (A) The failure to obtain the records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or (B) The requester can establish that they are primarily engaged in information dissemination as their main professional occupation or activity, and there is urgency to inform the public of the government activity involved in the request; and (C) The requester's statement must be certified to be true and correct to the best of the person's knowledge and belief and explain in detail the basis for requesting expedited processing. (ii) The formality of the certification required to obtain expedited treatment may be waived by the FDIC as a matter of administrative discretion.
(4) A requester seeking expedited processing will be notified whether expedited processing has been granted within ten (10) working days of the receipt of the request. If the request for expedited processing is denied, the requester may file an appeal pursuant to the procedures set forth in paragraph (h) of this section, and the FDIC shall respond to the appeal within ten (10) working days after receipt of the appeal.
(5) Priority of responses. Consistent with sound administrative process the FDIC processes requests in the order they are received in the separate processing tracks. However, in the agency's discretion, or upon a court order in a matter to which the FDIC is a party, a particular request may be processed out of turn.
(6) Notification.
(i) The time for response to requests will be twenty (20) working days except: (A) In the case of expedited treatment under paragraph (d)(3) of this section; (B) Where the running of such time is suspended for the calculation of a cost estimate for the requester if the FDIC determines that the processing of the request may exceed the requester's maximum fee provision or if the charges are likely to exceed $250 as provided for in paragraph (f)(1)(v) of this section; (C) Where the running of such time is suspended for the payment of fees pursuant to the paragraphs (d)(6)(i)(B) and (f)(1) of this section; or (D) In unusual circumstances, as defined in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(B) and further described in paragraph (d)(6)(iii) of this section.
(ii) In unusual circumstances as referred to in paragraph (d)(6)(i)(D) of this section, the time limit may be extended for a period of: (A) Ten (10) working days as provided by written notice to the requester, setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched; or (B) Such alternative time period as agreed to by the requester or as reasonably determined by the FDIC when the FDIC notifies the requester that the request cannot be processed in the specified time limit.
(iii) Unusual circumstances may arise when: (A) The records are in facilities, such as field offices or storage centers, that are not located at the FDIC's Washington office; (B) The records requested are voluminous or are not in close proximity to one another; or (C) There is a need to consult with another agency or among two or more components of the FDIC having a substantial interest in the determination.
(7) Response to request. In response to a request that satisfies the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section, a search shall be conducted of records maintained by the FDIC in existence on the date of receipt of the request, and a review made of any responsive information located. The FDIC shall notify the requester of:
(i) The FDIC's determination of the request;
(ii) The reasons for the determination;

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Records Fees
FEES SCHEDULE Date of Issuance: March 15, 1999

Date of Issuance: March 15, 1999

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 hourly labor rates shall apply:

Executive level staff -- $77.00
Professional level staff -- $49.00
Clerical level staff -- $21.00

Personal computer rate -- $1.75 per hour of use (in addition to hourly labor rates)

The charge for duplication of documents shall be $0.15 per page

Computer charges:

Floppy disks -- $1.00 each (plus data/labor costs)
Magnetic tape reel/cartridge -- $10.00 each (plus data/labor costs)
Large tape reel/cartridge -- $100.00 each (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

Special products:

Certain reports, manuals and other products are offered at set prices by agency components which produce them. Prices may be obtained upon request.

The above rates shall be in effect until further notice.