FOIA Guide - Gaining Access to FDIC Information
The FOIA Guide is a short and simple explanation of the
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and how the public can use
it to access government records. The FDIC FOIA Guide explains
how to submit a FOIA request to the FDIC. The FOIA Guide also
provides links to helpful reference guides and explains how
you can obtain additional information from the
Learn About the
The FDIC is an independent agency of the United States
government. It was established by Congress in 1933 to insure
bank deposits, help maintain sound conditions in the banking
system, and protect the nation's money supply in case of
financial institution failure. In 1989, the FDIC was given
the additional duty of insuring deposits in savings
associations. Virtually all United States banks and savings
associations are now insured by the FDIC. The basic amount of
deposit insurance for a depositor in an insured bank or
savings association is $250,000. For additional information
on FDIC Deposit Insurance, see the FDIC Publication Your Insured
Here are three links that will provide more information: The Learning
Bank, About FDIC,
and Symbol of
The FDIC publishes a number of pamphlets and consumer guides
on a variety of issues. You may find it helpful to begin your
research by reading a FDIC publication on the particular
issue of interest to you. Many publications are available
on-line, and all other publications are available through the
Consumer Protection Web page. For example, the Consumer Protection
contains several publications explaining uninsured investment
products, fair lending laws, and mortgage loan
pre-qualifications. In addition, the FDIC financial
institution and branch office data available through the Institution
Directory page provides information on FDIC financial
institutions and contains additional links to financial
information concerning such institutions.
Examination manuals are available for purchase, and some of
the more recent manuals may be reviewed on-line. Examination
manuals discuss, in depth, the examination process and
describe the policies followed by FDIC employees when
examining a bank's trust operations; when reviewing a
bank's compliance with consumer regulations; or when
weighing a bank's overall safety and soundness.
Directives governing and clarifying internal policies and
procedures regarding a limited, specific issue, are also
available on-line. Click here to view the FDIC's Regulations &
Examination section of our agency web site. A copy of the
FDIC's current FOIA annual report is
available on-line or by contacting Legal Division, FOIA/PA
Group, 550 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20429 (FAX:
FDIC on the World
A wealth of public information is available at your
fingertips through the FDIC's World
Wide Web site. You can review the information on-line or
download it for future use. Popular pages include Asset Sales (buying from
the FDIC), Doing
Business with the FDIC (selling to the FDIC) and Institution
Directory (Bank Data). If you wish to view recent
regulatory changes proposed by the FDIC, click here to view
Laws, Regulations, Related Acts. Click FDIC Federal
Register Comments to instantly access all public comments
on current FDIC regulatory proposals. Most of the information
available on the FDIC's World Wide Web Page is
word-searchable. If you are unable to find the information or
records you seek, try entering a key word or phrase to find
possible sites. Click here to use the
The FDIC maintains a public reading room, known as the
"Public Information Center" (PIC) at 3501 North Fairfax Drive,
Room E-1002, Arlington, VA 22226. The PIC is open to
the public from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET on business days and
is managed by the FDIC's Division of Administration. The PIC oversees extensive materials
concerning the FDIC and the former Resolution Trust
Corporation, such as
Press Releases and
Testimony & Articles offered by the FDIC. Many of
these publications are available on-line and all other
publications are available through the FDIC's Public
Information Center. In addition, the PIC can help you obtain
copies of Community
Reinvestment Act (CRA) evaluations, obtain the schedule
of institutions to be examined for CRA, and help you learn
about Doing Business
with the FDIC.
Click here to be linked to the Publications &
Documents - Listed by Topic web page.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal statute.
FOIA generally provides that any person has a right,
enforceable in court, of access to federal agency records,
except to the extent the records are protected from
disclosure by any of the nine exemptions contained in the law
or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.
The FOIA was amended by the Electronic Freedom of Information Act
Amendments of 1996 (E-FOIA). Among other things, E-FOIA
grants the public access to certain government documents via
computer telecommunications. The provisions of the FOIA, as
amended by E-FOIA, can be found at 5
U.S.C. 552. FDIC regulations implementing FOIA can be
12 C.F.R. 309.5. In response to the requirements of the FOIA,
Executive Order 13392, and to enhance the availability of FDIC records to the
public, the FDIC has established the FOIA Service Center on
the FDIC's World Wide Web page. In addition, the FDIC
supplemented and reconfigured its World Wide Web page so that
records required by E-FOIA to be made affirmatively available
via computer telecommunications can be quickly located. If
you have not been able to find the records you seek on the
FDIC's World Wide Web page, you may wish to file a FOIA
The following information will help you understand how the
FOIA can be used to obtain records that are not otherwise
Step 1. Understanding the FOIA.
Would you like to learn more about the Freedom of
Information Act and the Electronic Freedom of Information
Act Amendments of 1996? Click here to be linked through the
FDIC's Electronic FOIA Office to the Department of Justice
FOIA Home Page. This site provides the text of both the
FOIA and the E-FOIA amendments.
Step 2. FDIC Regulations.
Would you like to read the FDIC's current FOIA
regulation? Click here to be linked to the
FDIC's FOIA regulation
Step 3. Unavailable Records.
Would you like to find out if the records you seek are
available under the FOIA? Click here to be linked to a description of the nine categories
of records that are exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. If
the records you seek are in the FDIC's possession or
control but fall within one of these categories, they may
be withheld in full or in part. For example, bank
examination reports and related examiner work papers are exempt from disclosure under
Step 4. Costs.
Would you like to know how much it may cost you to
initiate a search for records under FOIA? Click here to be
linked to a description of the fees
the FDIC is authorized to charge when responding to FOIA
Step 5. Making a Request.
Would you like to file a FOIA request? You can file FOIA
requests electronically. Click here to be linked to the
FDIC's Electronic Request Form.
If you prefer, you may file a request by writing to the
FDIC, Legal Division, FOIA/PA Group, 550 17th Street, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20429 or by sending your request through our FAX number
at 703-562-2797. All FOIA requests must be in
writing. FDIC regulations require that you state at the
time you make your request the maximum amount of fees you
are willing to pay.
Step 6. Appeals.
Would you like to know more about your appeal rights
should your FOIA request be denied? Click here to learn
about the administrative appeal
process available to you if the records you seek under
the FOIA are not made available to you.
Step 7. Comments.
Would you like to comment on the FDIC's FOIA program?
Send your suggestions or comments to the FDIC, Legal
Division, FOIA/PA Group, 550 17th Street, N.W., Washington,
D.C. 20429 (FAX: 703-562-2797).
Step 8. Problems.
If you are having problems with a pending FOIA request, please
contact the FDIC Ombudsman / FOIA Public Liaison, 550 17th Street,
N.W., Washington, D.C. 20429 (FAX: 703-562-6057) or you may call the
Ombudsman / FOIA Public Liaison at (703) 562-6040.
The FDIC has prepared an index and description of the
major information systems maintained by the
In addition, the FDIC's Records Disposition Schedule contains a
comprehensive subject matter index which lists various record filing
To receive a copy of the FDIC's Records Disposition Schedule, contact
the Legal Division, FOIA/PA Group, 550 17th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C.
20429 (FAX: 703-562-2797).
Information may be requested from the FDIC under the Privacy
Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a. Privacy Act requests for information in
the FDIC's files must be in writing, and sent to the same
address as FOIA requests. The Privacy Act permits a person to
seek access to agency records pertaining to him or herself,
provided the record is maintained within a "system of
records" - i.e., the record is retrieved by that
individual requester's name or personal identifier. [See FDIC
Systems of Record.]
Several exemptions apply, however. To learn more, see the
Privacy Act regulations published in 12 C.F.R. Part