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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Service Center

FDIC Annual Report on the Freedom of Information Act
Fiscal Year 2002 (October 1, 2001 - September 30, 2002)

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
Supervisory Senior Attorney (FOIA/Privacy Act Officer)
FDIC Legal Division
550 17th St. N.W., Room H-11004
Washington, D.C. 20429
(202) 736-0526

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)
Public Information Center
801 17th St. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

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) 736-0547, through the Electronic FOIA Office on the FDIC web site, via direct e-mail to, or in writing to the address in Section 1(A) 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 Legal Division's FOIA/Privacy Act Group, 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 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 records are exempted from FOIA disclosure in order 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 withholding 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 not used during this fiscal year by the FDIC.

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: 42 [includes one request completed during FY 2001, but the file was not closed until FY 2002; therefore, 41 requests rather than 42 requests were listed as pending in the FY 2001 FOIA Annual Report.]
2. Number of requests received during current fiscal year: 856
3. Number of requests processed during current fiscal year: 801
4. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: 97

B. Disposition of initial requests.
1. Number of total grants: 482
2. Number of partial grants: 91
3. Number of denials: 42

(a) the number of times each FOIA exemption used (counting each exemption once per request).
(1) Exemption 1: 0
(2) Exemption 2: 8
(3) Exemption 3: 0
(4) Exemption 4: 65
(5) Exemption 5: 41
(6) Exemption 6: 84
(7) Exemption 7(A): 2
(8) Exemption 7(B): 0
(9) Exemption 7(C): 11
(10) Exemption 7(D): 2
(11) Exemption 7(E): 4
(12) Exemption 7(F): 0
(13) Exemption 8: 48
(14) Exemption 9: 0
4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total): 186
(a) no records: 50
(b) referrals: 0
(c) request withdrawn: 79
(d) fee-related reason: 24
(e) records not reasonably described: 19
(f) not a proper FOIA request for some other reason: 2
(g) not an agency record: 5
(h) duplicate request: 7
(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: 26
2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year: 24

B. Disposition of appeals.
1. Number completely upheld: 8
2. Number partially upheld: 5
3. Number completely reversed: 3

(a) number of times each FOIA exemption was used (counting each exemption once per appeal)
(1) Exemption 1: 0
(2) Exemption 2: 1
(3) Exemption 3: 0
(4) Exemption 4: 4
(5) Exemption 5: 3
(6) Exemption 6: 7
(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: 6
(14) Exemption 9: 0
4. Other reasons for nondisclosure (total): 0
(a) no records: 8
(b) referrals: 0
(c) request 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) total number of requests processed: 365
(b) median number of days to process: 15 business days
2. Complex requests (specify for any and all tracks used).
(a) total number of requests processed: 422
(b) median number of days to process: 24 business days
The Department of Justice's Supplemental Guidance on Annual FOIA Reports assumes that agencies will report “working days” rather than “calendar days,” but allows for the reporting of calendar days if clearly indicated. The FDIC’s FOIA database maintains data in calendar days rather than in working days. Therefore, this report uses calendar days rather than working days. Because there are fewer working days than calendar days, the FDIC’s median number of working days to process requests would be substantially less if reported in working days.

The FOIA/Privacy Act Group also had a physical move during this fiscal year. Despite these obstacles, the FDIC’s FOIA/Privacy Act Group processed 801 cases to conclusion with a median processing time of 20 calendar days. This an excellent result, which demonstrates the significant resources and emphasis that the FDIC places on serving the public through the FOIA.
3. Requests accorded expedited processing.
(a) number of requests accorded expedited processing: 14 (0 denials)
(b) median number of days to process: 72 business days
Most of the 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. All of the requests designated for expedited processing were in the educational, scientific and news media fee category. Because of the FDIC's customary diligence in dealing with educators, the research community and members of the news media, many of these requesters were issued partial responses within a few days of the request's receipt.

B. Status of pending requests.
1. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: 97
2. Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date: 46 business days.
The increase in pending requests at the end of this fiscal year is due to the 11% increase in FOIA requests received by the FDIC during this reporting period.

VIII. Comparisons with Previous Year

A. Comparison of number of requests received.
Prior Reporting Period: 766
Current Reporting Period: 856

B. Comparison of number of requests processed.
Prior Reporting Period: 788
Current Reporting Period: 801

C. Comparison of median number of days open requests had been pending as of the end of the fiscal year.
Prior Reporting Period: 23 business days
Current Reporting Period: 46 business days

D. Other statistics significant to agency:
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). The FDIC only received 26 FOIA appeals during this fiscal year. This continues the trend of steady decline in the number of FOIA appeals filed in recent years. This demonstrates increased requester satisfaction with the quality of FDIC's FOIA responses.

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 pending FOIA requests within the various FDIC Divisions and Offices. These analyses are also used as a means of evaluating and continuously improving the efficiency of the FDIC’s FOIA operations.

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, public comments, 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 Supervisory Senior Attorney in charge of the agency's FOIA program and other members of the staff conducted one formal training session on the FOIA and the Privacy Act for agency employees who work on these issues. The session was conducted on May 16, 2002 in front of a group of about 65 people. The focus was on FOIA issues concerning the FDIC's Legal Division and the Division of Supervision, which consists of bank examiners, attorneys, analysts and other personnel. The Supervisory Senior Attorney and senior staff also issued multiple written memoranda and oral guidance to many Offices and Divisions of the FDIC, coordinated and tracked the FOIA appeals for the General Counsel, and updated the Electronic FOIA web page.

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): 191

B. Total costs (including staff and all resources).
1. FOIA processing (including appeals): $1,632,038.00
2. Litigation-related activities: $12,000.00
3. Total costs: $1,644,038.00

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:

1 This does not include staff at the FDIC's Reading Room/Public Information Center.

2 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 $54,162 during the same period.

XI. FOIA Regulations (Including Fee Schedule):
The FDIC's FOIA regulations are available to the public in electronic version at: Due to an internal realignment at the FDIC, these regulations were modified via technical amendments/nomenclature change, as published at 67 Fed.Reg. 71071 (2002)(to be codified at 12 C.F.R. § 309.5 et seq.). Paper copies of this report contain the full text of FDIC's FOIA regulations as Attachment 1 and the Federal Register Notice of the nomenclature changes as Attachment 2.

The following is the FDIC's FOIA fee schedule, with the electronic version available to the public at:

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Records Fees
Fee Schedule

Interim Notice of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Records Fees
Fee Schedule

Date of Issuance: April 1, 2001

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 -- $85.00
Professional level staff -- $53.00
Clerical level staff -- $23.00

Personal computer rate -- $1.77 per hour of use (in addition to hourly labor rates)

The charge for duplication of documents shall be $0.10 per page

Computer charges:

Floppy disks -- $.50 each (plus data/labor costs)
CD -- $1.00 (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.