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Financial Institution Letters

Effective 06/28/2004
69 Fed. Reg. 41479 (July 9, 2004)

Guidelines for Appeals of Material Supervisory Determinations

A. Introduction

Section 309(a) of the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-325, 108 Stat. 2160) (“Riegle Act”) required the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) to establish an independent intra-agency appellate process to review material supervisory determinations made at insured depository institutions that it supervises. The Guidelines for Appeals of Material Supervisory Determinations (“guidelines”) describe the types of determinations that are eligible for review and the process by which appeals will be considered and decided. The procedures set forth in these guidelines establish an appeals process for the review of material supervisory determinations by the Supervision Appeals Review Committee (“SARC”).

B. SARC Membership

The following individuals comprise the three (3) voting members of the SARC: (1) one inside FDIC Board member, either the Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson, or the FDIC Director (Appointive), as designated by the FDIC Chairperson (this person would serve as the Chairperson of the SARC); and (2) one deputy or special assistant to each of the inside FDIC Board members who are not designated as the SARC Chairperson. The General Counsel is a non-voting member of the SARC. The FDIC Chairperson may designate alternate member(s) to the SARC if there are vacancies so long as the alternate member was not involved in making or affirming the material supervisory determination under review. A member of the SARC may designate and authorize the most senior member of his or her staff within the substantive area of responsibility related to cases before the SARC to act on his or her behalf.

C. Institutions Eligible to Appeal

The guidelines apply to the insured depository institutions that the FDIC supervises (i.e., insured State nonmember banks (except District banks) and insured branches of foreign banks) and also to other insured depository institutions with respect to which the FDIC makes material supervisory determinations.

D. Determinations Subject to Appeal

An institution may appeal any material supervisory determination pursuant to the procedures set forth in these guidelines. Material supervisory determinations include:

  1. CAMELS ratings under the Uniform Financial Institutions Rating System;
  2. EDP ratings under the Uniform Interagency Rating System for Data Processing Operations;
  3. trust ratings under the Uniform Interagency Trust Rating System;
  4. CRA ratings under the Revised Uniform Interagency Community Reinvestment Act Assessment Rating System;
  5. consumer compliance ratings under the Uniform Interagency Consumer Compliance Rating System;
  6. registered transfer agent examination ratings;
  7. government securities dealer examination ratings;
  8. municipal securities dealer examination ratings;
  9. determinations relating to the adequacy of loan loss reserve provisions;
  10. classifications of loans and other assets in dispute the amount of which, individually or in the aggregate, exceed 10 percent of an institution's total capital;
  11. determinations relating to violations of a statute or regulation that may impact the capital, earnings, or operating flexibility of an institution, or otherwise affect the nature and level of supervisory oversight accorded an institution;
  12. Truth in Lending (Regulation Z) restitution;
  13. filings made pursuant to 12 CFR 303.11(f), for which a Request for Reconsideration has been granted, other than denials of a change in bank control, change in senior executive officer or board of directors, or denial of an application pursuant to section 19 of the FDI Act (which are contained in 12 CFR 308, subparts D, L, and M, respectively), if the filing was originally denied by the DSC Director, Deputy Director or Associate Director; and
  14. any other supervisory determination (unless otherwise not eligible for appeal) that may impact the capital, earnings, operating flexibility, or capital category for prompt corrective action purposes of an institution, or otherwise affect the nature and level of supervisory oversight accorded an institution.

Material supervisory determinations do not include:

  1. decisions to appoint a conservator or receiver for an insured depository institution;
  2. decisions to take prompt corrective action pursuant to section 38 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, 12 USC 1831o;
  3. determinations for which other appeals procedures exist (such as determinations of deposit insurance assessment risk classifications and payment calculations);
  4. decisions to initiate formal enforcement actions under section 8 of the Federal Deposit Insurance Act, 12 USC 1818 (including assessment of civil money penalties) or under any other provisions of law or regulation; and
  5. decisions to initiate informal enforcement actions (such as memoranda of understanding).

The FDIC recognizes that, although determinations to take prompt corrective action or initiate formal or informal enforcement actions are not appealable, the determinations upon which such actions may be based (e.g., loan classifications) are appealable provided they otherwise qualify.

E. Good Faith Resolution

An institution should make a good faith effort to resolve any dispute concerning a material supervisory determination with the on-site examiner and/or the appropriate Regional Office. The on-site examiner and the Regional Office will promptly respond to any concerns raised by an institution regarding a material supervisory determination. Informal resolution of disputes with the on-site examiner and/or the appropriate Regional Office is encouraged, but seeking such a resolution is not a condition to filing a request for review with the Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection or an appeal to the SARC under these guidelines.

F. Filing a Request for Review with the FDIC Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection

An institution may file a request for review of a material supervisory determination with the Director, Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection, 550 17th Street NW, Room F-4076, Washington, D.C. 20429, within 60 calendar days following the institution's receipt of a report of examination containing a material supervisory determination or other written communication of a material supervisory determination. A request for review must be in writing and must include:

  1. a detailed description of the issues in dispute, the surrounding circumstances, the institution's position regarding the dispute and any arguments to support that position (including citation of any relevant statute, regulation, policy statement or other authority), how resolution of the dispute would materially affect the institution, and whether a good faith effort was made to resolve the dispute with the on-site examiner and the Regional Office; and
  2. a statement that the institution's board of directors has considered the merits of the request and authorized that it be filed.

The Director, Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection, will issue a written determination of the request for review, setting forth the grounds for that determination, within 30 days of receipt of the request. No appeal to the SARC will be allowed unless an institution has first filed a timely request for review with the Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection.

G. Appeal to the SARC

An institution that does not agree with the written determination rendered by the Director of the Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection must appeal that determination to the SARC within 30 calendar days from the date of that determination. The Director’s determination will inform the institution of the 30-day time period for filing with the SARC and will provide the mailing address for any appeal the institution may wish to file. Failure to file within the 30-day time limit may result in denial of the appeal by the SARC. If the Director of the Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection determines that an institution is entitled to relief that the Director lacks delegated authority to grant, the Director may, with the approval of the Chairperson of the SARC, transfer the matter directly to the SARC without issuing a determination. Notice of such a transfer will be provided to the institution.

H. Filing with the SARC

An appeal to the SARC will be considered filed if the written appeal is received by the FDIC within 30 calendar days from the date of the division director’s written determination or if the written appeal is placed in the U.S. mail within that 30-day period. If the 30th day after the date of the division director’s written determination is a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday, filing may be made on the next business day. The appeal should be sent to the address indicated on the determination being appealed.

I. Contents of Appeal

The appeal should be labeled to indicate that it is an appeal to the SARC and should contain the name, address, and telephone number of the institution and any representative, as well as a copy of the determination being appealed. If oral presentation is sought, that request should be included in the appeal. Only matters previously reviewed at the division level, resulting in a written determination or direct referral to the SARC, may be appealed to the SARC. Evidence not presented for review to the DSC Director may be submitted to the SARC only if authorized by the SARC Chairperson. The institution should set forth all of the reasons, legal and factual, why it disagrees with the determination. Nothing in the SARC administrative process shall create any discovery or other such rights.

J. Burden of Proof

The burden of proof as to all matters at issue in the appeal, including timeliness of the appeal if timeliness is at issue, rests with the institution.

K. Oral Presentation

The SARC may, in its discretion, whether or not a request is made, determine to allow an oral presentation. The SARC generally grants a request for oral presentation only if it determines that oral presentation is likely to be helpful or would otherwise be in the public interest. Notice of the SARC’s determination to grant or deny a request for oral presentation will be provided to the institution. If oral presentation is held, the institution will be allowed to present its positions on the issues raised in the appeal and to respond to any questions from the SARC. The SARC may also require that FDIC staff participate as the SARC deems appropriate.

L. Dismissal and Withdrawal

An appeal may be dismissed by the SARC if it is not timely filed, if the basis for the appeal is not discernable from the appeal, or if the institution moves to withdraw the appeal.

M. Scope of Review and Decision

The SARC will review the appeal for consistency with the policies, practices and mission of the FDIC and the overall reasonableness of and the support offered for the positions advanced, and notify the institution, in writing, of its decision concerning the disputed material supervisory determination(s) within 60 days from the date the appeal is filed, or within 60 days from oral presentation, if held. SARC review will be limited to the facts and circumstances as they existed prior to or at the time the material supervisory determination was made, even if later discovered, and no consideration will be given to any facts or circumstances that occur or corrective action taken after the determination was made. The SARC may reconsider its decision only on a showing of an intervening change in the controlling law or the availability of material evidence not reasonably available when the decision was issued.

N. Publication of Decisions

SARC decisions will be published. Published SARC decisions will be redacted to avoid disclosure of exempt information. Published SARC decisions may be cited as precedent in appeals to the SARC.

O. SARC Guidelines Generally

Appeals to the SARC will be governed by these guidelines. The SARC will retain the discretion to waive any provision of the guidelines for good cause; the SARC may adopt supplemental rules governing SARC operations; the SARC may order that material be kept confidential; and the SARC may consolidate similar appeals.

P. Limitation on Agency Ombudsman

The subject matter of a material supervisory determination for which either an appeal to the SARC has been filed or a final SARC decision issued is not eligible for consideration by the Ombudsman.

Q. Coordination with State Regulatory Authorities

In the event that a material supervisory determination subject to a request for review is the joint product of the FDIC and a State regulatory authority, the Director, Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection, will promptly notify the appropriate State regulatory authority of the request, provide the regulatory authority with a copy of the institution's request for review and any other related materials, and solicit the regulatory authority's views regarding the merits of the request before making a determination. In the event that an appeal is subsequently filed with the SARC, the SARC will notify the institution and the State regulatory authority of its decision. Once the SARC has issued its determination, any other issues that may remain between the institution and the State authority will be left to those parties to resolve.

R. Effect on Supervisory or Enforcement Actions

The use of the procedures set forth in these guidelines by any institution will not affect, delay, or impede any formal or informal supervisory or enforcement action in progress or affect the FDIC's authority to take any supervisory or enforcement action against that institution.

S. Effect on Applications or Requests for Approval

Any application or request for approval made to the FDIC by an institution that has appealed a material supervisory determination which relates to or could affect the approval of the application or request will not be considered until a final decision concerning the appeal is made unless otherwise requested by the institution.

T. Prohibition on Examiner Retaliation

The FDIC has an experienced examination workforce and is proud of its professionalism and dedication. FDIC policy prohibits any retaliation, abuse, or retribution by an agency examiner or any FDIC personnel against an institution. Such behavior against an institution that appeals a material supervisory determination constitutes unprofessional conduct and will subject the examiner or other personnel to appropriate disciplinary or remedial action. Institutions that believe they have been retaliated against are encouraged to contact the Regional Director for the appropriate FDIC region. Any institution that believes or has any evidence that it has been subject to retaliation may file a complaint with the Director, Office of the Ombudsman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 550 17th Street, Washington, D.C. 20429, explaining the circumstances and the basis for such belief or evidence and requesting that the complaint be investigated and appropriate disciplinary or remedial action taken. The Office of the Ombudsman will work with the Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection to resolve the allegation of retaliation.

Last Updated 10/13/2004

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