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Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
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Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Freedom of Information Office

FOIA Exemptions

The Board will provide any reasonably segregable portion of a record that is requested after deleting the portions that are exempt from disclosure. Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552 (b), the following records of the Board are exempt from disclosure:

(1) National defense. Any information that is specifically authorized under criteria established by an executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and is in fact properly classified pursuant to the executive order. The Board does not have original classification authority; however, there may be instances in which Board records contain classified information that would be withheld.

(2) Internal personnel rules and practices. Any information related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of the Board. This exemption may also be used to withhold internal policies (e.g., security procedures) whose disclosure might lead to circumvention of those policies.

(3) Statutory exemption. Any information specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than 5 USC 552b), if the statute (A) requires that the matters be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue or (B) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of matters to be withheld. Information the Board has withheld under this exemption includes grand jury materials and currency transaction and suspicious activity reports.

(4) Trade secrets; commercial or financial information. Any matter that is a trade secret or that constitutes commercial or financial information obtained from a person and that is privileged or confidential. In the context of requests for applications and application-related materials, the exempt information often includes business plans, pro forma financial information, nonpublic portions of transactional agreements, and descriptions of due diligence procedures and findings. Other information, such as copies of individual loan files obtained during an examination, and voluntarily submitted proprietary information, may fall within the scope of this exemption.

( 5) Inter- or intra-agency memorandums. Information contained in inter- or intra-agency memorandums or letters that would not be available by law to a party (other than an agency) in litigation with an agency. Information the Board has withheld under this exemption includes staff analyses and recommendations and inter-agency or intra-agency communications on proposals.

(6) Personnel and medical files. Any information contained in personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Information the Board has withheld under this exemption includes the names and/or personal addresses of shareholders holding less than 10 percent of the shares of a bank or bank holding company, completed interagency biographical and financial reports, and nonpublic portions of employment or non-competition agreements.

(7) Information compiled for law enforcement purposes. Any records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information (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 that furnished information 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. Information the Board has withheld under this exemption includes investigatory records related to pending or potential enforcement actions (7)(A); details on individuals who are targets of or witnesses to pending or completed investigations (7)(C); and materials reflecting the Board's procedures for conducting investigations (7)(E).

(8) Examination, inspection, operating, or condition reports, and confidential supervisory information. Any matter that is contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions, including a state financial institution supervisory agency. Information the Board has withheld under this exemption includes examination reports, examination-related correspondence, examiners' work-papers, and audit plans.

(9) Geological and geophysical information and data, including maps concerning wells. The Board does not receive or maintain this type of information and has not invoked this exemption.

Last update: August 2, 2013