On July 18, 2017, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Board of Directors adopted revised Guidelines for Appeals of Material Supervisory Determinations. The Guidelines govern the Supervision Appeals Review Committee (SARC) process. The 2017 Guidelines supersede the Guidelines which were originally adopted by the Board on March 21, 1995, and subsequently amended. The 2017 Guidelines reconstitute the SARC and modify the procedures for appeals to the SARC.
Supervision Appeals Review Committee (SARC) Guidelines
September 6, 2017 Financial Institution Letter: Revised Guidelines for Appeals of Material Supervisory Determinations
Printable format: Guidelines for Appeals of Material Supervisory Determinations
Section 309(a) of the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 (Pub. L. 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, insured branches of foreign banks, and state savings associations) and 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:
(a) CAMELS ratings under the Uniform Financial Institutions Rating System;
(b) IT ratings under the Uniform Interagency Rating System for Data Processing Operations;
(c) Trust ratings under the Uniform Interagency Trust Rating System;
(d) CRA ratings under the Revised Uniform Interagency Community Reinvestment Act Assessment Rating System;
(e) Consumer compliance ratings under the Uniform Interagency Consumer Compliance Rating System;
(f) Registered transfer agent examination ratings;
(g) Government securities dealer examination ratings;
(h) Municipal securities dealer examination ratings;
(i) Determinations relating to the adequacy of loan loss reserve provisions;
(j) Classifications of loans and other assets in dispute the amount of which, individually or in the aggregate, exceeds 10 percent of an institution's total capital;
(k) Determinations relating to violations of a statute or regulation that may affect the capital, earnings, or operating flexibility of an institution, or otherwise affect the nature and level of supervisory oversight accorded an institution;
(l) Truth in Lending (Regulation Z) restitution;
(m) 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 Federal Deposit Insurance Act (FDI Act), 12 U.S.C. 1829 (which are contained in 12 CFR 308, subparts D, L, and M, respectively), if the filing was originally denied by the Director, Deputy Director, or Associate Director of the Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection (DCP) or the Division of Risk Management Supervision (RMS);
(n) Decisions to initiate informal enforcement actions (such as memoranda of understanding);
(o) Determinations regarding the institution's level of compliance with a formal enforcement action; however, if the FDIC determines that the lack of compliance with an existing formal enforcement action requires additional enforcement action, the proposed new enforcement action is not appealable;
(p) Matters requiring board attention; and
(q) Any other supervisory determination (unless otherwise not eligible for appeal) that may affect 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:
(a) Decisions to appoint a conservator or receiver for an insured depository institution;
(b) Decisions to take prompt corrective action pursuant to section 38 of the FDI Act, 12 U.S.C. 1831o;
(c) Determinations for which other appeals procedures exist (such as determinations of deposit insurance assessment risk classifications and payment calculations); and
(d) Formal enforcement-related actions and decisions, including determinations and the underlying facts and circumstances that form the basis of a recommended or pending formal enforcement action.
A formal enforcement-related action or decision commences, and becomes unappealable, when the FDIC initiates a formal investigation under 12 U.S.C. 1820(c) or provides written notice to the institution of a recommended or proposed formal enforcement action under applicable statutes or published enforcement-related policies of the FDIC, including written notice of a referral to the Attorney General pursuant to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) or a notice to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for violations of ECOA or the Fair Housing Act (FHA). For the purposes of these Guidelines, remarks in a Report of Examination do not constitute written notice of a recommended or proposed enforcement action. A formal enforcement-related action or decision does not affect the appeal of any material supervisory determination that is pending under these Guidelines.
Additional SARC Rights:
(a) In the case of any written notice from the FDIC to the institution of a recommended or proposed formal enforcement action, including a draft consent order, if an enforcement action, such as the issuance of a notice of charges or the signing of a consent order, is not pursued within 120 days of the written notice, SARC appeal rights will be made available pursuant to these guidelines. The FDIC may extend this 120-day period, with the approval of the SARC Chairperson, if the FDIC notifies the institution that the relevant Division Director is seeking formal authority to take an enforcement action.
(b) In the case of a referral to the Attorney General for violations of the ECOA, if the Attorney General returns the matter to the FDIC and the FDIC does not initiate an enforcement action within 120 days of the date the referral is returned, SARC appeal rights will be made available pursuant to these guidelines.
(c) In the case of providing notice to HUD for violations of the ECOA or the FHA, if the FDIC does not initiate an enforcement action within 120 days of the date the notice is provided, SARC appeal rights will be made available under these guidelines.
(d) Written notification of SARC rights will be provided to the institution within 10 days of a determination that such rights have been made available.
(e) The FDIC and an institution may mutually agree to extend the timeframes in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) if the parties deem it appropriate in order to reach a mutually agreeable solution.
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 appropriate Division, either DCP or RMS, or to filing an appeal with the SARC under these Guidelines.
F. Filing a Request for Review with the Appropriate Division
An institution may file a request for review of a material supervisory determination with the Division that made the determination, either the Director, DCP, or the Director, RMS, (Director or Division Director), 550 17th Street, NW, Room F-4076, Washington, DC 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:
(a) 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
(b) A statement that the institution's board of directors has considered the merits of the request and has authorized that it be filed.
The Division Director 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. The Division Director will issue a written determination on the request for review, setting forth the grounds for that determination, within 45 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 appropriate Division Director.
G. Appeal to the SARC
An institution that does not agree with the written determination rendered by the Division Director 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 Division Director recommends that an institution receive 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. The Division Director may also request guidance from the SARC Chairperson as to procedural or other questions relating to any request for review.
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 a Federal holiday, filing may be made on the next business day. The appeal should be sent to the address indicated on the Division Director's 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 Division Director's 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 Division 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 Division Director's 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 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, Withdrawal and Rejection
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. An appeal may be rejected if the right to appeal has been cut off under Section D, above.
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. The SARC will notify the institution, in writing, of its decision concerning the disputed material supervisory determination(s) within 45 days from the date the SARC meets to consider the appeal, which meeting will be held within 90 days from the date of the filing of the appeal. 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 as soon as practicable, and the published decisions will be redacted to avoid disclosure of exempt information. In cases in which redaction is deemed insufficient to prevent improper disclosure, published decisions may be presented in summary form. Published SARC decisions may be cited as precedent in appeals to the SARC. Annual reports on Division Directors' decisions with respect to institutions' requests for review of material supervisory determinations also will be published.
O. SARC Guidelines Generally
Appeals to the SARC will be governed by these Guidelines. The SARC will retain discretion to waive any provision of the Guidelines for good cause. The SARC may adopt supplemental rules governing its operations; order that material be kept confidential; and 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, DCP, or the Director, RMS, as appropriate, 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 that 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, DC 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 appropriate Division Director to resolve the allegation of retaliation.
Supervision Appeals Review Committee (SARC) Decisions
Supervision Appeals Review Committee (SARC) Points of Contact
For further information concerning the SARC Guidelines contact:
- Patricia Colohan, Associate Director, Risk Management Examinations Branch, Division of Risk Management Supervision, (202) 898-7283
- Tara Oxley, Associate Director, Compliance and CRA Examinations Branch, Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection, (202) 898-6722
- James S. Watts, Counsel, Legal Division, (202) 898-6678