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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

Tips for FOIA Requesters

To speed processing time and to minimize fees, you may wish to consider the following:
  1. Specifically describe the information you seek. The more information you provide about what you are looking for, the more readily we can determine where to search for responsive information. For example, with respect to banking applications and notices:

    If you ask for a copy of the "section 3 application by ABC Bancorporation to acquire XYZ bank," we will limit our search to the initial filing by the applicant.

    If you ask for the "record of the application by ABC Bancorporation to acquire XYZ Bank," our search will include the initial filing plus any other materials that comprise the application record.

  2. Avoid overly broad requests. Such requests usually involve significant processing time and incur substantial search fees. In addition, an overly broad request may be considered defective under the Board's rules because fulfilling it may unduly burden or significantly interfere with any of the Board's operations. Often you may avoid these outcomes by limiting the scope of your request and identifying the time period covered by your request.

  3. Limiting your request to publicly available information often speeds processing time. For example, the clearly public information in bank holding company applications can usually be provided quickly. In addition, before you request data collected in various Board reports, you may wish to review the Reporting Forms page on the Board's public website. That page contains a link to a summary of each report that indicates what information in a report is considered public, and therefore available for disclosure. You may also find that the Board already publishes the information you seek.

  4. Consider whether the Board is the appropriate agency for your request. To avoid delays in obtaining information about a particular financial institution, you may wish to confirm, by contacting the FOIA Service Center or through other research, that the Board is likely to have information regarding the subject of your request.

  5. Requests for information on specific retail accounts maintained at commercial banks. Ordinarily, the Board does not receive or maintain bank account-specific information. On rare occasions, the Board may receive such information in the course of an examination of a bank, but such information is generally exempt from disclosure and is not provided in response to FOIA requests.

Last update: February 13, 2012