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FDIC Annual Report on the Freedom of Information Act
Fiscal Year 2006 (October 1, 2005 - September 30, 2006)


I. Basic Information Regarding this Report

A. The FDIC contact person for questions about this report is Fredrick Lee Fisch, Supervisory Counsel, FDIC Legal Division, 550 17th St. N.W., Room MB-2110, Washington, DC 20429; Telephone (202) 898-6901; FAX (202) 898-6910.

B. This report is available on the FDIC web site at http://www.fdic.gov/about/freedom/reports.html

C. A paper copy of this report may be obtained by downloading it from the FDIC web site or by requesting a copy from the FDIC Public Information Center, 3501 N. Fairfax Drive, Room E-1002, Arlington, VA 22226; Telephone (703) 562-2200, or (877) 275-FDIC (3342).

II. How to Make a FOIA Request to the FDIC

A. All FOIA requests are processed by the FDIC Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)/Privacy Act Group in Washington, DC. Requests must be in writing and directed to the FOIA/Privacy Act Group, FDIC Legal Division, 550 17th St. NW, Washington, DC 20429.  Requests may also be submitted electronically through the FDIC's Electronic FOIA Office on the web site at http://www2.fdic.gov/efoiarequest/index.asp . The FDIC publication entitled, ďFOIA Guide Ė Gaining Access to FDIC InformationĒ explains in detail how to submit a FOIA request to the FDIC. The FOIA Guide is available on the FDIC web site at http://www.fdic.gov/about/freedom/Guide.html .

B. The FDIC devotes significant effort to comply with the statutory time period for responding to FOIA requests. Response times range from 1 day to several months in rare cases. The vast majority of requests are fulfilled within 20 business days, and many of those are fulfilled within 5 business days.

C. Some FOIA requests are denied in whole or in part because the information requested is exempted from disclosure by the FOIA (5 U.S.C. ß552 (b)). The exemptions most often applicable to information requested from the FDIC include (b)(4), (b)(5), (b)(6) and (b)(8). The FDIC receives a great deal of privileged and private financial information concerning individuals, businesses, and banking entities by virtue of its roles as a federal financial institution regulatory agency, as well as the appointed receiver of virtually all failed U.S. depository institutions. Therefore, exemptions (b)(4) and (b)(6) are invoked to withhold confidential or privileged material. The 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 promote frank communications between financial institutions and the FDIC examination staff and to maintain stability in the financial system. Accordingly, the FDIC invokes FOIA exemption (b)(8) for these purposes. Other exemptions, such as (b)(2), (b)(7)(A), or (b)(7)(C) are used occasionally. In some cases, records cannot be located.

III. Definitions of Terms and Acronyms Used in this Report

A. There are no FDIC-specific acronyms or other terms used in this report.

B. Basic report terms expressed in common terminology include:
1. FOIA/PA request  Ė 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 Ė A request to FDIC for access to records under the Freedom of Information Act.
3. Appeal  Ė A request to FDIC 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 Ė A request or appeal for which FDIC has taken a final action on the request or the appeal in all respects.
5. Multi-track processing Ė 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 Ė The FDIC 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  Ė A FOIA request that FDIC (using multi-track processing) places in its fastest (non-expedited) track based on the volume and/or simplicity of the records requested.
8. Complex request  Ė A FOIA request that FDIC (using multi-track processing) places in a slower track based on the volume and/or complexity of records requested.
9. Grant Ė A decision to disclose all records in full in response to a FOIA request.
10. Partial grant Ė A 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 exemptions; or a decision to disclose some records in their entirety, but to withhold others in whole or in part.
11. Denial  Ė A 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 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 Ė The time period in the Freedom of Information Act for the FDIC to respond to a FOIA request (ordinarily 20 working days from proper receipt of a "perfected" FOIA request).
13. Perfected request -Ė A FOIA request for records which adequately describes the records sought, which has been received by the FDIC's FOIA/Privacy Act Group in Washington, DC, and for which there is no remaining question about the payment of applicable fees.
14. Exemption 3 statuteĖ 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 Ė The middle, not average, number. For example, for the numbers 3, 7, and 14, the median number is 7.
16. Average number  Ė The number obtained by dividing the sum of a group of numbers by the quantity of numbers in the group. For example, for the numbers 3, 7, and 14, the average number is 8.

IV. Exemption 3 Statutes

A. Exemption (b)(3) was not used this fiscal year by the FDIC.

V. Initial FOIA/PA Access Requests

A. Numbers of initial requests.
1. Number of requests pending as of end of preceding fiscal year: 29
1
2. Number of requests received during current fiscal year: 652
3. Number of requests processed during current fiscal year: 652
4. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: 29

B. Disposition of initial requests.
1. Number of total grants: 422
2. Number of partial grants: 53
3. Number of denials: 17

(a)  Exemptions used:
 
Exemption 1: 0
Exemption 2: 9
Exemption 3: 0
Exemption 4: 26
Exemption 5: 14
Exemption 6: 34
Exemption 7(A): 0
Exemption 7(B): 0
Exemption 7(C): 2
Exemption 7(D): 0
Exemption 7(E): 2
Exemption 7(F): 0
Exemption 8: 20
Exemption 9: 0
4. Other reasons for nondisclosure: 160
(a) no records: 74
(b) referrals: 2
(c) request withdrawn: 26
(d) fee-related reason: 24
(e) records not reasonably described: 24
(f) not a proper FOIA request for some other reason: 0
(g) not an agency record: 3
(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: 6
2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year: 6

B. Disposition of appeals.
1. Number completely upheld: 3
2. Number partially upheld: 0
3. Number completely reversed: 1

(a) Exemptions used
Exemption 1: 0
Exemption 2: 0
Exemption 3: 0
Exemption 4: 1
Exemption 5: 0
Exemption 6: 2
Exemption 7(A): 0
Exemption 7(B): 0
Exemption 7(C): 0
Exemption 7(D): 0
Exemption 7(E): 0
Exemption 7(F): 0
Exemption 8: 2
Exemption 9: 0
4. Other reasons for nondisclosure: 2
(a) no records: 1
(b) referrals: 0
(c) request (appeal) withdrawn: 1
(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) Number of requests processed: 460
(b) Median number of days to process: 9
2. Complex requests.
(a) Number of requests processed: 191
(b) Median number of days to process: 21
3. Requests accorded expedited processing.
(a) Number of requests processed: 1
(b) Median number of days to process: 9

B. Status of pending requests.
1. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal year: 29
2. Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date: 10

VIII. Comparisons with Previous Year

A. Requests received.
Prior Reporting Period: 871
Current Reporting Period: 652

B. Requests processed.
Prior Reporting Period: 898
Current Reporting Period: 652

C. Median number of days requests were pending as of the end of the year.
Prior Reporting Period: 16 days
Current Reporting Period: 10 days

D. One request for expedited processing was formally requested and granted.

E. During this fiscal year, the FDIC concentrated on the full and complete implementation of the Presidentís December 14, 1995 Executive Order # 13,392 (Improving Agency Disclosure of Information). Past internal program reviews and a review of the FDICís Annual FOIA Reports indicate that the FDIC fulfills its obligations under the FOIA with a commitment to accuracy, timeliness, and service. The issuance of the Executive Order, however, gave the FDIC a new opportunity to review FOIA operations, the presentation of information to the public, customer service practices, response times, internal training, and other aspects of our FOIA program. The results of our review have been published on the FDIC web site at http://www.fdic.gov/about/freedom/FOIAPlan-Review2006.pdf . The FDICís implementation of the Executive Order is further discussed below in Section XII of this report. As part of its normal review process and in conjunction with the mandates of the Executive Order, the FDICís FOIA Office focused its efforts this past fiscal year chiefly on: 1) improving customer service and communications; and 2) ensuring the accuracy and completeness of the records in the FOIA files. The FDICís FOIA results and performance during this fiscal year confirm that customer satisfaction is high. FOIA appeals, FDICís response times, and backlogs are at all-time lows. The FDIC reduced the number of FOIA appeals filed by 68% from 19 to 6. Fast-track FOIA requests were fulfilled in a median time of only 9 business days, well below the 20 business-day response time mandated by the statute. Complex requests with voluminous records in remote locations were fulfilled in a median time of 21 days, down from 32 days in the prior reporting year. Of the 29 requests pending at the end of the reporting year, the median pending time of each request was only 10 days, a reduction of 6 days from the prior reporting period. The FDIC is not, however, complacent with these results and remains committed to further improvements in order to maintain this quality of service on a continuing and consistent basis.

The FDIC continues to gain efficiency by increasing the amount and quality of information placed on the web site at http://www.fdic.gov . Consistent with the mandate of the FOIA, the FDIC has posted a great deal of information to the web site, such as records concerning regulatory proposals, filings by depository institutions, financial and statistical data, FDIC enforcement actions, public comments, and final orders issued from FDIC's Board of Directors. This pro-active placement of information obviates the need for a FOIA request in many cases and allows for the FOIA office staff to concentrate on the timely and comprehensive fulfillment of the remaining request files.

IX. Costs/FOIA Staffing

A. Staffing levels.
1. Number of full-time FOIA personnel: 6
2. Number of part-time FOIA personnel: (in total work-years): 4
3. Total number of personnel (in work-years): 10 2

B. Total costs (including staff and all resources).
1. FOIA processing: $1,922,923
2. Litigation-related activities: $49,550
3. Total costs: $1,972,473

X. Fees

A. Total amount of fees collected by agency for processing requests: $15,122.19 3

B. Percentage of total costs: 0.78%

XI. FOIA Regulations and Fee Schedule

FDIC FOIA regulations may be found at: http://www.fdic.gov/regulations/laws/rules/2000-3800.html#2000part309. Paper copies of this report contain the full text of the regulations.

The FDIC Records Fee Schedule is set forth below and it may be found at http://www.fdic.gov/about/freedom/fees.html#schedule

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Records Fee Schedule
April 4, 2005

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 fees shall be in effect until further notice.

Hourly labor rates:    Executive staff @ $99.00  -  Professional staff @ $62.00  -  Clerical staff @ $27.00

Duplication:    $0.20 per page

Computer charges:    Personal computer rate @ $1.84 per hour of use (in addition to hourly labor rates); 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.

XII. Report on Executive Order Implementation

  1. The FDIC has issued one update/modification of its FOIA Plan, Review and Report filed pursuant to Executive Order 13,392 (Improving Agency Disclosure of Information). This modification was made on October 27, 2006 and was added to explain the procedures the FDIC employs when a FOIA request remains unfulfilled after the passage of twenty business days. The FDIC uses active, customer service-oriented techniques to fulfill requests that may still be pending after the passage of twenty business days.
     
  2. Upon the December 14, 2005 issuance of the Executive Order, the FDIC immediately went to work on the fulfillment of its mandates. On January 9, 2006, Acting FDIC Chairman Martin J. Gruenberg named Acting General Counsel Douglas H. Jones as the FDICís Chief FOIA Officer. On April 5, 2006, Chief FOIA Officer and Acting General Counsel Jones designated the FDIC Ombudsman, Cottrell L. Webster as the FDICís FOIA Public Liaison. Counsel in the FDICís FOIA Office, under the direction of Chief FOIA Officer Jones, provided the Ombudsmanís Office with substantive FOIA training, as well as an overview of the FOIA Public Liaisonís duties and responsibilities under the Executive Order.

    Under the further guidance of Chief FOIA Officer and Acting General Counsel Jones, in early 2006, the FDICís FOIA Office undertook a complete review, revision and modernization of each page of the FDICís FOIA web site. This included a review of the ďFOIA GuideóGaining Access to Information,Ē which informs the public on how to request records under the FOIA and how to achieve the best results. The review also included a revision and up-grade of the FDICís inter-active telephonic status request system. Along with the FOIA Office staff, the conversant/inter-active telephone status request system and the web site form the nucleus of the FDICís FOIA Service Center. The FDIC timely placed its FOIA Service Center into full operation and filed its Plan, Review and Report with the Attorney General and OMB Director. The inter-active telephonic component of the FDICís FOIA Service Center enables requesters to check on the status of their pending FOIA requests and speak directly to a FOIA Office staff member during regular business hours. The FDICís FOIA web site and the inter-active telephonic FOIA assistance line operate twenty four hours a day. To the date of this report, the FDICís FOIA Service Center has operated without any complaints since it became fully operational in June 2006.

    Another benefit the FDIC received in its review pursuant to the Executive Order was the improvement of two of its correspondence forms used in the fulfillment of FOIA requests. We made customer service enhancements to the initial FOIA acknowledgment letter and the agreement for extension of time to respond. These letters now meet the letter and spirit of the Executive Order by striking a more customer service-oriented tone. They were also reformulated for increased clarity and ease of reading.

    Among the improvement areas cited by the FDIC in its Plan, Review and Report were the affirmative and pro-active disclosure of information through web sites and other means. Along with the FDICís other activities in affirmatively making information available to the public, the FOIA Service Center has raised the level and clarity of available information. For instance, as part of the Executive Order review, we revised our ďPopular FOIAĒ web page to include links to web-available materials that had traditionally been requested under the FOIA. This has enabled some requesters to go directly to the ďPopular FOIAĒ web page and obtain the records they seek. Providing this extra web link to these materials has also made them easier to find for web surfers who know to seek information directly from a federal agencyís FOIA web site.


    In the ordinary course of FDIC business, we have also made many records available to the public through the Public Reading Room in Arlington, Virginia. In 2006, the FDIC also appended to its web site over 55 new major studies, reports, and statistical compilations of interest to the public. In addition to these major web site additions, the FDIC has also web-published numerous enforcement orders, guidance letters to bankers or the public, Community Reinvestment Act reports, filings by depository institutions or affiliated parties, statistical and Call Report information, consumer guidance on a variety of topics in business and banking, and information from state and other bank regulatory agencies.

    The other improvement area cited in the Plan, Review and Report was the need for additional employee training in the proper fulfillment of FOIA requests. The FDICís FOIA Office has held several internal training meetings during this reporting period to discuss current cases and trends, as well as solutions for fulfillment of individual files. This included a training seminar in October 2005 for all Washington, DC area FDIC employees who devote significant time to FOIA matters. At the seminar, the FOIA Office staff presented several training sessions to over 25 employees. Several FDIC employees not in the FOIA Office but who work on FOIA matters attended one or more Department of Justice FOIA or Privacy Act training courses. The FDIC Chief FOIA Officer and the Supervisory Counsel also participated in two Executive Order/FOIA training sessions conducted by the Department of Justiceís Office of Information and Privacy. In a matter related to FOIA training, counsel in the FDICís FOIA Office (which also oversees the FDICís Privacy Act program) worked closely during this reporting period with the FDICís Chief Privacy Officer to develop an on-line training module for Privacy Act duties and responsibilities. The module has been successful, and the FDIC is evaluating whether to create such a module for the FOIA. The FDIC plans to further implement this portion of the FOIA Plan, Review and Report in 2007.
  1. The FDIC has reviewed the Plan, Review and Report issued pursuant to the Executive Order and has found no deficiencies in meeting plan milestones.
     
  2. A further and more detailed analysis of the FDICís Executive Order activities is contained in the Plan, Review and Report issued pursuant to the Executive Order. That report, which was updated on October 27, 2006, is available on the FDICís web site at http://www.fdic.gov/about/freedom/FOIAPlan-Review2006.pdf.
     
  3. A request for records may be denied if the requested record contains information which falls into one or more of the nine categories listed below. If the requested record contains both exempt and nonexempt information, the nonexempt portions which may reasonably be segregated from the exempt portions will be released to the requester.

    Exemption One - Records which are specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive Order to be kept secret in interest of national defense or foreign policy and are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive Order.

    Exemption Two - Records related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the FDIC.

    Exemption Three - Records specifically exempted from disclosure by statute, provided that such statue: (a). requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issues; or (b). establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld.

    Exemption Four - Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person that is privileged or confidential.

    Exemption Five - Interagency or intra-agency memoranda or letters which would not be available by law to a private party in litigation with the FDIC.

    Exemption Six - Personnel, medical, and similar files (including financial files) the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

    Exemption Seven - Records compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records: (a). could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings; (b). would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication; (c). could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy; (d). could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a state, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished records on a confidential basis; (e). would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law; or (f). could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.

    Exemption Eight - Records that are contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of the FDIC or any agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions.

    Exemption Nine - Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps, concerning wells.

    The exemptions most often applicable to information requested from the FDIC include (b)(4), (b)(5), (b)(6) and (b)(8). The FDIC receives a great deal of privileged and private financial information concerning individuals, businesses, and banking entities by virtue of its roles as a federal financial institution regulatory agency, as well as the appointed receiver of virtually all failed U.S. depository institutions. Therefore, exemptions (b)(4) and (b)(6) are invoked to withhold confidential or privileged material. The 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 promote frank communications between financial institutions and the FDIC examination staff and to maintain stability in the financial system. Accordingly, the FDIC invokes FOIA exemption (b)(8) for these purposes. Other exemptions, such as (b)(2), (b)(7)(A), or (b)(7)(C) are used occasionally. In some cases, records cannot be located.
     
  4. Additional Statistics
  1. Time Range of Pending Requests: As of January 31, 2007, there are 28 pending requests including 23 requests open for less than 20 days and 5 requests open for 21 days or more. The date of request for each of these 5 pending requests is as follows: (1) November 14, 2006; (2) November 28, 2006; (3) December 5, 2006; (4) December 7, 2006; and (5) December 7, 2006. These requests generally involve circumstances where the FDIC was waiting on a fee payment agreement. They also include searches for records that were created in the 1980s, or, if the records existed at all, were voluminous and in remote locations, such as Dallas, TX. An agreement for extension of time to respond is in place for each of these 5 FOIA requests.
  1. The FDICís Plan, Review and Report in implementing the FOIA Executive Order is posted to the FDICís web site in a prominent place in the FDICís Freedom of Information Act Service Center. The Plan, Review and Report is located at http://www.fdic.gov/about/freedom/FOIAPlan-Review2006.pdf. A copy of the Plan, Review and Report will be attached to paper copies of this report and is also available from the FDICís Public Information Center (contact information is on page 1).


1  This number reflects an adjustment of one less request (due to a discovered data entry error) from the number submitted in the prior reporting period.

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

3  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 $11,260.00 during the same period.



Last Updated 01/23/2013 efoia@fdic.gov