OCC BULLETIN 2017-9
Subject: Availability of Information Under the Freedom of Information Act
Date: February 1, 2017
To: Chief Executive Officers of All National Banks and Federal Savings Associations, Federal Branches and Agencies, Department and Division Heads, All Examining Personnel, and Other Interested Parties
Description: Interim Final Rule
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has published an interim final rule with request for comment to amend its regulations governing the disclosure of information pursuant to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The amendments to the FOIA regulations reflect changes to the FOIA made by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 and the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009. The interim final rule also makes other technical changes to update the OCC’s FOIA regulations.
Note for Community Banks
The interim final rule applies to any FOIA request made by any party, including a community bank. The information that the OCC discloses pursuant to the FOIA may relate to institutions the OCC regulates, including community banks.
Among other changes, the interim final rule:
The FOIA sets forth the process for obtaining federal agency records, unless 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. On June 30, 2016, the FOIA Improvement Act amended the FOIA to, among other changes, require federal agencies to make certain records electronically available, extend the time available for a requester to appeal an adverse determination, amend the circumstances under which an agency can assess search and duplication fees, require agencies to establish FOIA dispute resolution procedures, and create a new standard for the withholding of information pursuant to a FOIA exemption. The interim final rule implements these changes.
The interim final rule also amends 12 CFR 4.12(b)(3) to reflect the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009 provision requiring that statutes enacted after the date of the enactment of the OPEN FOIA Act must specifically cite Exemption 3 of the FOIA in order to qualify under Exemption 3, which applies to information specifically exempted from disclosure by statute.
Finally, the interim final rule incorporates certain technical changes originally proposed as part of the OCC’s review pursuant to section 2222 of the Economic Growth and Regulatory Paperwork Reduction Act of 1996.
Please contact Melissa Lisenbee, Attorney, Legislative and Regulatory Activities Division, at (202) 649-5490.
Amy S. Friend