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Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act

Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 USC § 552 , generally provides that any person has a right of access to federal agency records, unless the records (or any portion of the records) are protected from disclosure by one of the FOIA's nine exemptions, or by one of its three special law enforcement record exclusions. The FFIEC has issued regulations (12 CFR § 1101.4) implementing the FOIA, which were last updated on November 22, 2010. The final rule, as posted in the Federal Register can be viewed at this link: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-11-22/pdf/2010-29282.pdf and will be updated in the next release of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Chief FOIA Officer and FOIA Public Liaison

The Chief FOIA Officer has responsibility for efficient and appropriate compliance with the FOIA. The FFIEC’s Chief FOIA Officer is the FFIEC’s Executive Secretary.

Public liaisons serve as supervisory officials to whom a FOIA requester can raise concerns about the service the FOIA requester has received. The FOIA Public Liaison for the FFIEC is the FFIEC’s Program Coordinator.

Making a FOIA Request to the FFIEC

Requests for records must be submitted in writing to the Executive Secretary of the FFIEC. Requests should be marked “Freedom of Information Request,” “FOIA Request,” or the like.

Requests may be mailed or delivered to: FFIEC, Attn: Executive Secretary, 3501 Fairfax Drive, Room B-7081a, Arlington, VA, 22226-3550

Requests may be sent by facsimile to (703) 562-6446, or emailed to FOIA@ffiec.gov.

Contents of Request: All requests should clearly describe the records requested. In addition, requests should contain the following information: the name and mailing address of the requester, an email address, if available, and the telephone number at which the requester may be reached during normal business hours; a statement as to whether the information is intended for commercial use, and whether the requester is an educational or noncommercial scientific institution, or news media representative. Requests should also indicate the format in which responsive records are to be provided, i.e., paper copy, compact disk, etc.

Fees: All requests must contain a statement agreeing to pay all applicable fees or a statement identifying any desired fee limitation. A request for a waiver or reduction of fees must be made at the time the initial request for records pursuant to the FOIA is submitted. Please include in any waiver request relevant facts or arguments that might support the request for the fee waiver. For more information on fees, please review the FFIEC’s FOIA regulations at 12 CFR § 1101.4.

Expedited Processing: Requesters should also state whether expedited processing is requested. To be eligible for expedited processing, a requester must demonstrate a compelling need for the records requested. The FFIEC ordinarily will only expedite a FOIA request in cases in which there is a threat to someone's life or physical safety, or the requester is primarily engaged in disseminating information and has established that the request is urgently needed to inform the public concerning some actual or alleged government activity.

Reading Room

Conventional Reading Room: Paper copies of public FFIEC records are available at the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Council, 3501 Fairfax Drive, Room D-8073a, Arlington, VA, 22226-3550.

Electronic Reading Room:

FFIEC FOIA Annual Reports
FFIEC Chief FOIA Officer Reports (Report instituted in 2010)
FFIEC Quarterly FOIA Reporting (Report instituted 1st Quarter of Fiscal Year 2013)

Additional FOIA Resources

President Obama's FOIA Memorandum: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/FreedomofInformationAct/

Attorney General's FOIA Guidelines: http://www.justice.gov/oip/obama_holder_foia_memo_march2009.pdf

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/foia/

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: http://www.fdic.gov/about/freedom/index.html

Federal Reserve Board: http://www.federalreserve.gov/generalinfo/foia/default.cfm

National Credit Union Administration: http://www.ncua.gov/GenInfo/FOIA/index.aspx

Office of Comptroller of the Currency: http://www.occ.treas.gov/foia/foia.htm

For Other Federal Agency FOIA Web Sites:

Department of Justice: http://www.justice.gov/oip/

Privacy Act

The Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, balances the government's need to collect, maintain, use, and disclose personal information about individuals with the rights of those individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of privacy. The Privacy Act provides the right for an individual to obtain copies of records maintained on him/her if such information is not exempt from release under the provisions of the law.

Requests for records subject to the Privacy Act can be made only by U.S. citizens or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent U.S. residence status, who are seeking information about themselves, which is retrieved from a system of records by their names or other personal identifiers. Even if a request does not mention the Privacy Act, however, the FFIEC automatically treats requests for agency records as being made under both the FOIA and the Privacy Act whenever it is appropriate to do so.