FDIC Annual Report on
the Freedom of Information Act
Fiscal Year 2006 (October 1, 2005 - September 30,
I. Basic Information Regarding
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.
report is available on the FDIC web site at
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
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.
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
There are no FDIC-specific acronyms or other terms used in this report.
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.
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
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
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
IV. Exemption 3
A. Exemption (b)(3) was not used this fiscal
year by the FDIC.
V. Initial FOIA/PA Access
A. Numbers of initial requests.
1. Number of requests pending as of end of preceding fiscal year: 29
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
1. Number of total grants: 422
2. Number of partial grants: 53
3. Number of denials: 17
(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
1. Number of appeals received during fiscal year: 6
2. Number of appeals processed during fiscal year: 6
B. Disposition of
1. Number completely upheld: 3
2. Number partially upheld: 0
3. Number completely reversed: 1
(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
1. Number of requests pending as of end of current fiscal
2. Median number of days that such requests were pending as of that date:
with Previous Year
A. Requests received.
Prior Reporting Period: 871
Current Reporting Period: 652
Prior Reporting Period: 898
Current Reporting Period: 652
Median number of days requests were pending as of
the end of the year.
Prior Reporting Period: 16 days
Current Reporting Period: 10 days
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
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): 102
B. Total costs
(including staff and all resources).
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
The FDIC has reviewed the
Plan, Review and Report issued pursuant to the Executive Order and has
found no deficiencies in meeting plan milestones.
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
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
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
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.
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 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.
This does not include staff at the FDIC's Reading
Room/Public Information Center.
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.