83 FR 177 pgs. 46075-46098 - Disclosure of Records and Information

Type: RULEVolume: 83Number: 177Pages: 46075 - 46098
Docket number: [Docket No. CFPB-2016-0039]
FR document: [FR Doc. 2018-19384 Filed 9-11-18; 8:45 am]
Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Official PDF Version:  PDF Version
Pages: 46075, 46076, 46077, 46078, 46079, 46080, 46081, 46082, 46083, 46084, 46085, 46086, 46087, 46088, 46089, 46090, 46091, 46092, 46093, 46094, 46095, 46096, 46097, 46098

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BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION

12 CFR Part 1070

[Docket No. CFPB-2016-0039]

RIN 3170-AA63

Disclosure of Records and Information

AGENCY:

Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule amends the procedures used by the public to obtain information from the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) under the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and in legal proceedings.

DATES:

This final rule is effective October 12, 2018.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

David Snyder, Senior Counsel, Legal Division, at 202-435-7758. If you require this document in an alternative electronic format, please contact CFPB_Accessibility@cfpb.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background


[top] The Bureau first published the procedures used by the public to obtain information from it under the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and in legal proceedings in an interim final rule on July 28, 2011, 76 FR 45371 (Jul. 28, 2011). This was followed by a final rule on February 15, page 46076 2013, 78 FR 11483 (Feb. 15, 2013). Based on its experience over the last several years, the Bureau published a notice of proposed rulemaking on August 24, 2016, 81 FR 58310 (Aug. 24, 2016), that proposed to amend the rule to clarify, correct, and amend certain provisions of the rule, and it solicited comments on the proposal. The Bureau is issuing this final rule in response to the comments. The Bureau's August 24, 2016 notice of proposed rulemaking also proposed to amend the Bureau's rule regarding the confidential treatment of information obtained from persons in connection with the exercise of its authorities under Federal consumer financial law. This final rule only pertains to portions of the Bureau's proposal related to the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, and requests for Bureau information in legal proceedings.

II. Summary of the Final Rule

The final rule revises subparts A, B, C, and E of section 1070 of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

The revisions to subpart A address procedures related to the certification of authenticity of Bureau records and the service of summonses or complaints on the Bureau. Subpart A also contains definitions of terms used throughout the remainder of the part, and the final rule revises the definition of "Chief FOIA Officer."

Subpart B implements the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552 (the FOIA). The Bureau has revised this subpart to clarify its practices, provide additional flexibility for requesters, and reflect recent changes made to the FOIA by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016 (Pub. L. 114-185). Additionally, these changes streamline the Bureau's process for assessing FOIA fees and notifying requesters of such fees. These changes will allow the Bureau to process FOIA requests more efficiently and provide records to requesters more quickly. The Bureau has made some minor revisions to its proposal in response to comments.

The final rule does not revise subpart D.

Subpart C (sometimes referred to as Touhy Regulations) sets forth procedures for requests for information from the Bureau in connection with legal proceedings between others, and describes the Bureau's procedures for considering such requests or demands for official information. The Bureau has made organizational and clarifying revisions to the provisions previously set forth in this subpart. The Bureau received no comments on this subpart and it finalizes the proposed subpart without modification.

Subpart E contains the Bureau's rule implementing the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a. The Bureau has revised the subpart to clarify the Chief Privacy Officer's authority, to provide additional flexibility for requestors, and to make technical corrections. The Bureau received no comments on this subpart and it finalizes the proposed subpart without modification.

III. Overview of Comments Received

The Bureau received eight comment letters that pertained to its proposal regarding FOIA implementation. These included three comment letters from industry trade associations; and one comment letter each from an individual; an opposition research and communication organization; a financial institution; a consumer advocacy organization; and a Federal agency with responsibilities related to implementation of the FOIA. These comment letters largely proposed minor modifications to the proposed rule in order to clarify it and/or facilitate public access to information. The Bureau also received input from another Federal agency during the comment period. These suggestions primarily focused on procedural and technical changes to the proposed rule. The Bureau made some changes to the final rule based on this input.

The Bureau received no comment letters regarding its proposed revisions to subpart C or subpart E, regarding its Touhy Regulations and implementation of the Privacy Act of 1974, respectively.1

Footnotes:

1 ?The Bureau received twenty-seven total comment letters in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking. The Bureau continues to consider the comments pertaining to its proposals related to the confidential treatment of Bureau information, and these comments are not addressed in this final rule.

IV. Legal Authority

The Bureau proposed the rule pursuant to its authority under (1) Title X of the Dodd-Frank Act, 12 U.S.C. 5481 et seq., including (a) Section 1022(b)(1), 12 U.S.C. 5512(b)(1); (b) Section 1022(c)(6)(A), 12 U.S.C. 5512(c)(6)(A); and (c) Section 1052(d), 12 U.S.C. 5562(d); (2) the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552; (3) the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a; (4) the Right to Financial Privacy Act, 12 U.S.C. 3401 et seq.; (5) the Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. 1905; (6) 18 U.S.C. 641; (7) the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq., and (8) the Federal Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 3101. The Bureau received no comments on the applicability of these statutes, and it promulgates the final rule pursuant to these authorities.

V. Section-by-Section Analysis

Part 1070-Disclosure of Records and Information

Subpart A-General Provisions and Definitions

Section 1070.2 General Definitions

Section 1070.2(c) Chief FOIA Officer

The Bureau had proposed no change to the defined term, "Chief FOIA Officer." However, a Federal agency noted that the Bureau's status quo definition permitted a broader delegation of the Chief FOIA Officer's authority than is permitted by the FOIA. The previous definition allowed the Chief Operating Officer to delegate the Chief FOIA Officer's authority to "any employee," but the FOIA requires that the Chief FOIA Officer be at the assistant secretary level or above. The Bureau agrees that this provision allowed a broader delegation of authority than is permissible under the FOIA and has removed the phrase "or any CFPB employee to whom the Chief Operating Officer has delegated authority to act under this part" from the final rule. The Bureau believes that this provision, in conjunction with §?1070.2(d), provides the Bureau with the necessary flexibility to delegate some of the responsibilities of the Chief FOIA Officer to other CFPB employees without delegating more authority than is permissible under the FOIA.

Section 1070.3 Custodian of Records; Certification; Alternative Authority

Section 1070.3(b) Certification of Record

Section 1070.3(b) authorizes the Bureau's Chief Operating Officer to certify the authenticity of any Bureau record or any copy of such record. The Bureau proposed revising the rule to clarify that the Chief Operating Officer can also certify the absence of a record. Such certification is contemplated in Rule 44 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Rule 902 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. See also Federal Rule of Evidence 803(10). The Bureau received no comments regarding this proposal, and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.5 Service of Summonses and Complaints


[top] The Bureau proposed moving §?1070.31-which provides the process for serving the Bureau with summonses or complaints-to a new section in subpart A for clarity, in order to separate the rule governing service page 46077 when the Bureau is a party from the remaining provisions in subpart C, which deal with requests for information for other proceedings. In addition, the Bureau proposed revising paragraph (d)'s requirement that documents be "stamped" "Service Accepted for Official Capacity Only" by replacing the word "stamped" with the word "marked." This proposal was intended to clarify that the documents may be labeled using a variety of methods. The Bureau received no comments regarding these proposals, and it finalizes them without modification.

Subpart B-Freedom of Information Act

The Bureau received several general comments concerning its proposed changes to the regulations implementing the FOIA and the Bureau's FOIA process. Some commenters expressed support for the Bureau's proposed changes to the extent that they would expedite the FOIA process. Some of these commenters also raised concerns about the timeliness of the Bureau's FOIA process and its commitment to openness and transparency. The Bureau remains committed to open government and strives to be a leader by being transparent with respect to its own activities. In addition, the Bureau will continue to improve its FOIA process to ensure that all requests are responded to in a timely fashion.

The Bureau also made several technical and typographical revisions to the rule in response to comments, including updating cross-referenced provisions, ensuring consistent spelling of certain terms, and ensuring the consistent use of terminology throughout the rule.

Section 1070.11 Information Made Available; Discretionary Disclosures

Section 1070.11(a) In General

Section 1070.11(a)(2)

Section 1070.11(a)(2) identifies a category of information and records that the FOIA requires Federal agencies to make publicly available. The Bureau proposed to remove the phrase "and copying" and replace it with "in an electronic format." The Bureau proposed similar revisions to §?1070.13. These changes are required by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. The Bureau received no comments on this proposal and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.11(b) Discretionary disclosures

Section 1070.11(b) says that, even if a FOIA exemption applies to requested information or records, the Bureau has discretion to disclose it to the extent that the disclosure is not otherwise precluded by law. The paragraph further notes that such disclosures are not precedential. The Bureau proposed no revisions to this paragraph. However, another Federal agency suggested that the phrase "but is merely an indication that, in the processing of the particular request, the CFPB finds no necessity for applying the exemption" is unnecessary. The phrase at issue is contained in the part of §?1070.11(b) noting that the Bureau's decision to discretionarily disclose a record in one case has no precedential value in the processing of another request. The Bureau agrees that this phrase is unnecessary and has removed it from the final rule.

Section 1070.13 & Public Inspection and Copying

Section 1070.13(d) Redaction of Identifying Details

Section 1070.13 addresses the requirement that the Bureau make certain records available on its public website, and paragraph (d) addresses privacy-related redaction of those records. The Bureau proposed no revisions to this paragraph. However, one commenter noted that although §?1070.13(d) discusses redacting records in the Bureau's FOIA reading room for personal privacy, it does not mention any other FOIA exemptions. Although the commenter is correct that §?1070.13(d) does not mention any other FOIA exemptions, the Bureau does not believe any changes to this provision are warranted because §?1070.13(a) already informs requesters that documents published in the Bureau's FOIA reading room are "[s]ubject to the application of the FOIA exemptions and exclusions . . . ." The Bureau finalizes the provision in the final rule without modification.

Section 1070.14 Requests for CFPB Records

Section 1070.14(b) Form of Request

Section 1070.14(b) specifies the form of FOIA requests, and it previously distinguished between requests made in writing and by electronic means. The Bureau proposed a technical change to this provision, to remove the phrase "or by electronic means" and add "as follows:" in its place. The Bureau also proposed changes to §?1070.14(b)(1) and (2) to clarify how requesters must submit FOIA requests to the Bureau. The Bureau proposed similar changes to the following sections: 1070.17(b)(1); 1070.21(c); and 1070.22(e)(1)(i). The Bureau received no comments on these proposals and it finalizes them without modification.

Section 1070.14(c) Content of Request

Section 1070.14(c) specifies the content of FOIA requests. Although the Bureau did not propose revisions to paragraphs (c)(1), (3), and (6), it received several suggestions from another Federal agency concerning these provisions. First, the agency suggested revising paragraph (c)(1) to say that a "FOIA request must describe the records that the requester seeks in sufficient detail." The Bureau agrees and will make this edit as it is a core requirement of a perfected FOIA request.

The agency also suggested removing the phrase "[a]s a general rule" from the last sentence of paragraph (c)(1) because it is unnecessary. The Bureau agrees and has removed this text from the final rule.

Next, the agency suggested removing the part of paragraph (c)(3) that concerns requests to inspect records. The Bureau agrees that this provision is unnecessary and that, as a practical matter, requesters do not seek to inspect records prior to production. In response, the Bureau has removed the provision concerning the inspection of records and added a provision directing that the "request should state whether the requester wishes to receive the records in a specific format."

Finally, the agency suggested changing paragraph (c)(6) to allow requesters to seek expedited processing at any time during the processing. The Bureau's rule previously required requesters to seek expedited processing with their initial requests. The agency noted that this provision could frustrate requesters by requiring them to withdraw and resubmit a request that includes a request for expedited processing. The Bureau agrees with the agency's suggestion, but has instead changed §?1070.17(b)(1) in the final rule to address this concern. As such, revision to §?1070.14(c)(6) is not necessary in response to this suggestion.

Section 1070.14(c)(4)


[top] Section 1070.14(c)(4) provides that a FOIA requester should indicate in the request whether the requester is a commercial user, an educational institution, non-commercial scientific institution, representative of the news media or "other" requester, as those terms are defined in §?1070.22(b). The section also informs requesters that they may contact the Bureau's FOIA Public Liaison to seek assistance in determining the appropriate fee page 46078 category. Previously, the provision only permitted the Bureau to use information provided to the FOIA Public Liaison by a requester for the purpose of determining the requester's fee category. The Bureau proposed to remove this limitation so that it could use this information for other purposes, such as aiding a requester in clarifying the scope of a request, assisting in identifying records sought by a requester, and helping to resolve disputes related to a request.

The Bureau received two comment letters regarding this provision. One commenter noted that the section included a fee category, "governmental entity," which is not recognized under the FOIA and is not defined anywhere in the Bureau's regulations. The Bureau agrees and has removed this fee category from the final rule. Another commenter raised concerns about the removal of language limiting the purposes for which the FOIA Public Liaison could use information provided by a requester. The commenter suggested that the Bureau narrow its proposal to codify certain specified uses for which the FOIA Public Liaison could use the information. The Bureau declines to make this change. The purpose of this proposal was to provide the FOIA Public Liaison with additional flexibilities in using the information to assist requesters in the processing of their requests. The Bureau removed this provision with the goal of maximizing the FOIA Public Liaison's ability to assist requesters with the processing of their requests and it believes that placing restrictions on the FOIA Public Liaison will hamper those efforts. For the aforementioned reasons, the Bureau finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.14(c)(5)

Section 1070.14(c)(5) provides that if a requester seeks a waiver or reduction of fees associated with processing a request, then the request shall include a statement to that effect. The text previously included a statement that any request that does not seek a waiver or reduction of fees constitutes an agreement of the requester to pay all fees up to $25. The Bureau proposed to remove this language in light of other proposed fee-related revisions. Under the Bureau's proposed revisions to §?1070.22(d) and (f), FOIA requesters could still specify an upper limit on the fees that they are willing to pay to process a request and the Bureau would notify a requester of any potential fees beyond that limit before processing the request. The Bureau received no comments on this proposal and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.14(e) Requests by an Individual for CFPB Records Pertaining to That Individual

Section 1070.14(e) directs individuals who wish to inspect or obtain records pertaining to themselves to seek access to the records pursuant to the Bureau's regulations that implement the Privacy Act of 1974, in subpart E of the rule. The Bureau proposed no revisions to this provision. However, another Federal agency suggested that the Bureau directly reference its Privacy Act request identity verification procedures at §?1070.53(c) for first-party FOIA requests. It is the Bureau's practice to use the same identity verification procedures outlined in §?1070.53(c) for both Privacy Act requests and first-party FOIA requests, and such a change would codify the Bureau's current practice in its regulations. As such, the Bureau agrees with the commenter's suggestion and has made this change in the final rule.

Section 1070.14(g) Assistance From FOIA Public Liaison

Section 1070.14 instructs requesters on how to request records from the Bureau under the FOIA. The Bureau received a suggestion from another Federal agency suggesting that it make the FOIA Public Liaison available more broadly to assist requesters. The Bureau agrees with the commenter's suggestion and has added a new provision to its final rule, §?1070.14(g), which informs requesters that they can contact the FOIA Public Liaison to resolve any problems that arise during the processing of their requests. The Bureau believes that this change renders the reference to the FOIA Public Liaison in §?1070.14(c)(4) unnecessary and has removed it from the final rule.

Section 1070.15 Responsibility for Responding to Requests for CFPB Records

Section 1070.15 addresses, among other things, the process by which the Bureau consults with other agencies regarding FOIA requests and/or refers FOIA requests to other agencies. The Bureau did not propose any revisions to this provision. However, one commenter noted that the Bureau separately proposed a new definition of "agency" in §?1070.2(a) that included entities that are not subject to the FOIA. Were §?1070.15 to be read in conjunction with this proposed definition, the rule would seem to allow the Bureau to refer FOIA requests to agencies that are not subject to the FOIA. Because the Bureau is not finalizing the proposed definitions in §?1070.2 in this final rule, this comment is moot.

In addition, a Federal agency suggested that the Bureau update and clarify its process for referrals and consultations, and that the Bureau allow for an additional process whereby the Bureau would coordinate with another agency when referral and consultation are not appropriate. The Bureau agrees with this suggestion and has added language to the final rule concerning referrals, consultations, and coordination. The changes to the rule clarify when it is appropriate for the Bureau to refer a request to, consult, or coordinate with another agency when processing a FOIA request. It also clarifies how the Bureau will document referrals and notify requesters when the Bureau has decided to refer a request to another agency.

Section 1070.16 Timing of Responses to Requests for CFPB Records

Section 1070.16(d) Unusual Circumstances

Section 1070.16(d) addresses circumstances where the Bureau requires an extension to respond to a FOIA request. The Bureau proposed no revisions to this provision. However, one commenter suggested that the Bureau add language to §?1070.16(d) stating that it will notify requesters of the availability of the services provided by the Bureau's FOIA Public Liaison and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) when the Bureau requires an extension due to "unusual circumstances" under this provision. The Bureau agrees with this suggestion and has revised the final rule to incorporate this change.


[top] In addition, a Federal agency suggested that the Bureau remove several of the references to FOIA appeals in this paragraph. Although "unusual circumstances" may apply to the processing of a FOIA appeal, the agency pointed out that in such circumstances the Bureau would not give the requester an opportunity to modify the scope of the appeal. The Bureau agrees with this suggestion and has implemented it in the final rule, as this part of the paragraph is intended to apply to requests, not FOIA appeals. page 46079

Section 1070.17 Requests for Expedited Processing

Section 1070.17(b) Form and Content of a Request for Expedited Processing

Section 1070.17(b) instructs requesters on how to request expedited processing of a FOIA request. The Bureau proposed no revisions to this section. However, as explained above with respect to §?1070.14(c), in response to a suggestion from another Federal agency, the Bureau has revised §?1070.17(b)(1) of the final rule to state that requesters may request expedited processing at any time during the processing of their requests.

In addition, the Federal agency recommended that the Bureau revise §?1070.17(b)(2)(ii) to clarify what a requester must show to obtain expedited processing of the requested records. The Bureau agrees and has revised the rule accordingly. The FOIA provides for expedited processing of a request upon a showing of a "compelling need," which includes a request by a "person primarily engaged in disseminating information" where there is an "urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity." 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(6)(E). The rule did not previously explain what requesters must show to demonstrate that they are persons "primarily engaged in disseminating information." The revised rule clarifies that a requester who is not a full-time member of the media must establish that the requester is a person "whose primary professional activity or occupation is information dissemination." The revised rule also informs requesters that the existence of numerous articles on a given subject can be helpful in establishing that there is an "urgency to inform" the public on the topic of the request.

Section 1070.17(c) Determinations of Requests for Expedited Processing

Section 1070.17(c) states that the Bureau will decide requests for expedited processing within ten calendar days of its receipt of the request, and that it will notify the requester of its decision in writing. The Bureau proposed no revisions to this section. However, one commenter suggested that the Bureau revise the provision to require the Bureau to process requests for expedited processing within five business days, and to require the Bureau to provide requested records within three business days of granting a request for expedited processing. The Bureau declines to adopt this recommendation. The current rule requires the Bureau to decide whether to grant a request for expedited processing in ten calendar days, which is what the FOIA requires. Additionally, the Bureau notes that, as reflected in its most recent Annual FOIA Report, the average amount of time it takes the Bureau to adjudicate a request for expedited processing is one day.

The Bureau also declines to commit itself to releasing requested records within three business days of granting a request for expedited processing. When the Bureau grants a request for expedited processing, it processes the request as quickly and efficiently as possible. As noted above, the Bureau, on average, adjudicates requests for expedited processing in one day. Processing a request within three days after expedited processing is granted will not be feasible in many cases, particularly in cases involving a large number of responsive records.

For the aforementioned reasons, the Bureau finalizes the provision without modification.

Section 1070.18 Responses to Requests for CFPB Records

Section 1070.18(a) Acknowledgement of Requests

Section 1070.18(a) requires the Bureau to acknowledge its receipt of FOIA requests. The provision previously created this requirement only for perfected requests. A Federal agency recommended that the Bureau delete the word "perfected," thus requiring the Bureau to also acknowledge and provide requesters with tracking numbers for requests that have not been perfected. The Bureau agrees with this recommendation. This is the Bureau's current practice, and it has revised the final rule to adopt this suggestion.

Section 1070.18(a)(4)

Section 1070.18(a)(4) specifies what fee-related information the Bureau will include in acknowledgement letters it sends to requesters. The Bureau proposed to make a technical change to this provision, removing the phrase "(of not less than $25)" to account for the proposed revisions to fee-related provisions in §?1070.22(d) and (f). The Bureau received no comments on this proposal and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.18(b) Initial Determination To Grant or Deny a Request

Section 1070.18(b)(2)

Section 1070.18(b)(2) addresses the Bureau's response to a request that has been granted in full or in part. The Bureau proposed no revisions to this provision. However, a Federal agency recommended that the Bureau revise §?1070.18(b)(2) to notify requesters that they can seek assistance from the Bureau's FOIA Public Liaison when the Bureau grants a request in full or in part. The Bureau agrees with this recommendation and has revised the final rule to incorporate it.

Section 1070.18(b)(4)

Section 1070.18(b)(4) addresses the Bureau's response to a request that it determines should be denied in whole or in part. The Bureau proposed to add a new provision at §?1070.18(b)(4)(iv) requiring it to inform requesters of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Bureau's FOIA Public Liaison or OGIS. The Bureau also proposed to renumber the existing provisions under §?1070.18(b)(4) to accommodate this change. The Bureau noted in its proposal that this change is required by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. The Bureau received no comments on this proposal and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.18(c) Resolution of Disputes

The Bureau proposed a new paragraph in §?1070.18 to inform requesters about the resources available to resolve any disputes that may arise during the request process. These resources are the Bureau's FOIA Public Liaison and mediation services provided by OGIS. One commenter suggested that the Bureau remove a provision in §?1070.18(c)(2) stating that the Bureau will not "defer to OGIS mediation decision in particular cases." The commenter reasoned that this provision is not necessary because OGIS does not issue decisions. The Bureau agrees and it has revised the final rule to incorporate this recommendation.

Section 1070.18(d) Format of Records Disclosed

The Bureau proposed a new paragraph to inform requesters that they may request records in a particular format. Under this proposal, the Bureau would provide records in a requested format when the requested format can readily be reproduced from the original file. The Bureau received no comments on this proposal and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.20 Requests for Business Information Provided to the CFPB

Section 1070.20(f) Opportunity To Object to Disclosure


[top] Section 1070.20(f) provides a submitter of business information with page 46080 ten business days to object to the Bureau's disclosure of the submitter's business information. The Bureau proposed to make two technical changes to this provision clarifying that the Bureau will delay any release of information to afford the submitter ten business days to object to the disclosure. The Bureau received one comment in support of this proposed change and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.21 Administrative Appeals

Section 1070.21(b) Time Limits for Filing Administrative Appeals

Section 1070.21(b) provides the time limits for filing administrative appeals. The Bureau proposed to revise this provision to clarify that the time period for filing an appeal begins on the day after the date the initial determination is sent to the requester or the date of the letter transmitting the last records released, whichever is later. The Bureau also proposed to change the time limit for filing an administrative appeal from 45 days to 90 days. This change is required by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. The Bureau received no comments on these proposals and it finalizes them without modification.

Section 1070.21(d) Processing of Administrative Appeals

Section 1070.21(d) specifies how the Bureau will process administrative appeals. The Bureau proposed to remove the requirement that appeals be stamped with the date of their receipt by the FOIA Office. The FOIA Office does not stamp an appeal with the date the Bureau received it, but the date is recorded in the Bureau's system for tracking FOIA requests. This requirement is outmoded and the Bureau proposed to remove it to account for its current practice.

Section 1070.21(d) also previously provided that appeals would be processed in the order in which they are received. Since adopting this provision in 2011, the Bureau has found that it is not always practicable to complete action on appeals in the order in which they are received, and sometimes has chosen to act on a simple later-received appeal rather than delay action pending completion of a more complex earlier-received appeal. In order to better align the regulation with current practice, the Bureau proposed to delete the provision calling for first-in-first-out processing of appeals.

The Bureau received no comments on these proposals and it finalizes them without modification.

Section 1070.21(e) Determinations To Grant or Deny Administrative Appeals

Section 1070.21(e) authorizes the General Counsel to decide administrative appeals, and §?1070.21(e)(3) allows for remand of a FOIA determination as one option for the General Counsel's disposition of an appeal. The Bureau proposed to amend the first sentence of §?1070.21(e) to add a reference to remands so that all options for disposition of appeals are listed in that sentence. The Bureau received no comments on its proposed revision and it finalizes the revision without modification. In addition, one commenter recommended that the Bureau also include a provision in §?1070.21(e) committing the Bureau to work as an active partner during the OGIS dispute resolution process when the Bureau agrees to participate in the process concerning a particular request. The Bureau agrees with this recommendation and has revised the final rule to incorporate it.

Section 1070.22 Fees for Processing Requests for CFPB Records

Section 1070.22(a) In General

Section 1070.22(a) directs the Bureau to determine whether and to what extent to charge a requester fees for processing a FOIA request. Among other things, the provision previously stated that the Bureau charges certain fees "unless circumstances exist . . . that render fees inapplicable or inadvisable or unless the requester has requested and the [Bureau] has granted a reduction in or waiver of fees. . . ." The Bureau proposed no revisions to this provision. However, a Federal agency recommended that the Bureau remove the phrase "or inadvisable" from §?1070.22(a) because it is not clear what the phrase means in this context. The Bureau agrees and has removed this phrase from the final rule.

Section 1070.22(b) Categories of Requesters

Section 1070.22(b) identifies appropriate fee categories for requesters. One commenter suggested that community-based organizations and non-profits "be added to the category that would obtain the lowest fees" or, alternatively, that the Bureau create a new fee category for such groups where they would pay the lowest processing fees. The Bureau declines to adopt this recommendation. The fee categories are defined by statute and the Office of Management and Budget's fee guidance, and the Bureau does not believe it would be appropriate for it to create a new fee category that was not contemplated by the FOIA. The Bureau also cannot commit to placing all non-profits and community based organizations in the lowest fee categories because not all such organizations will meet the requirements for placement in these fee categories. The Bureau believes that the current FOIA fee categories and the fee waiver provisions in the Bureau's rule are sufficient to address the concerns raised by the commenter.

Section 1070.22(b)(1)(i)

Section 1070.22(b)(1)(i) defines the "Commercial user" category of requester. The Bureau proposed to amend this provision to clarify that the Bureau's decision to place a requester in the commercial user category will be made on a case-by-case basis based on how the requester will use the information. The Bureau proposed this change to clarify how it will make decisions whether to place a requester in the commercial user category. The Bureau received no comments on this proposal and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.22(b)(1)(ii)

Section 1070.22(b)(1)(ii) defines the "Educational institution" category of requester. Several commenters suggested that the Bureau update the definition to more accurately reflect the text of the FOIA and recent case law expanding the scope of the term "educational institution" to include students at educational institutions who submit a FOIA request in furtherance of coursework or other school-sponsored activities. See Sack v. U.S. Dep't of Defense, 823 F.3d 687 (D.C. Cir. 2016). The Bureau agrees with the commenters and has so revised this provision in the final rule, including by adding three examples of requesters to clarify under which circumstances a requester would fall within the scope of this fee category. The Bureau has also made corresponding changes to §?1070.22(c)(2), removing information that is no longer necessary in light of the revisions to §?1070.22(b)(1)(ii).

Section 1070.22(b)(2)


[top] Section 1070.22(b)(2) provides that the Bureau will notify a requester of its determination as to the proper fee category to apply to the requester. The provision previously provided that the Bureau make its determination based on a review of the requester's submission and the Bureau's own records. The Bureau proposed to delete this limitation to clarify that it may base its determination on other appropriate information, including phone page 46081 conversations with the requester and publicly available information. The Bureau received no comments on this proposal and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.22(d) Other Circumstances When Fees Are Not Charged

Section 1070.22(d) provides certain circumstances where the Bureau may not charge a requester a fee for processing a FOIA request. The Bureau proposed to insert a new paragraph at §?1070.22(d)(2) and to renumber §?1070.22(d) to accommodate the new paragraph. The Bureau explained in its proposal that the new paragraph would provide that it will not charge a requester any fees when the fee, excluding duplication costs, is less than $250. The Bureau proposed this change as part of its larger goal of revising the process for how it assesses FOIA processing fees and how the Bureau notifies requesters of such fees. The Bureau explained that this new provision would streamline its process for assessing FOIA fees. This change would allow the Bureau to process FOIA requests more quickly and efficiently because the Bureau would no longer need to contact a FOIA requester concerning processing fees when the cost to process the request is less than $250. As such, this provision would provide information to these requesters more quickly and at a reduced cost to the requesters.

A Federal agency suggested that the Bureau should remove §?1070.22(d)(1) because it is no longer necessary given other revisions the Bureau has proposed to its FOIA regulations. The agency also recommended that the Bureau clarify §?1070.22(d)(2) because it is not clear from the proposed revisions whether duplication costs would be included in the proposed $250 threshold.

The Bureau intended its proposed $250 fee threshold to only apply to search and review costs, not duplication costs. Under its proposal, the Bureau would not charge any fees if the search and review fees were less than $250, but it did not intend for duplication costs to be subject to this threshold. The Bureau intended to subject duplication costs to §?1070.22(d)(1), which provides that the Bureau will not charge a requester any FOIA processing fee when the cost of collecting the fee is equal to or greater than the fee itself. The Bureau intended to make this distinction because most of its FOIA responses are transmitted to requesters electronically and result in no duplication costs. The Bureau did not intend to offer requesters up to $250 worth of duplication without charge when the Bureau can almost always provide records in an electronic format. The Bureau has made clarifying revisions to its rule to address the agency's comments.

Section 1070.22(d)(4)

Section 1070.22(d)(4) addresses miscellaneous circumstances where the Bureau may not assess fees. The Bureau proposed to revise this provision to prohibit it from charging search fees, or in certain cases duplication fees, when the Bureau has failed to comply with time limits under §?1070.16 or §?1070.21, unless (1) unusual circumstances apply to the processing of the request; (2) the Bureau has provided timely written notice of the unusual circumstances to the requester; (3) more than 5,000 pages are necessary to respond to the request; and (4) the Bureau has discussed with the requester (or made three good-faith attempts to do so) how the requester could effectively limit the scope of the request. These changes are required by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016.

A Federal agency recommended that the Bureau revise §?1070.22(d)(4), reasoning that the proposal's exception to when the Bureau can charge FOIA processing fees when it does not meet FOIA timelines was technically broader than the FOIA's requirements. In addition, the Federal agency recommended revising the paragraph to account for a scenario where a court determines that exceptional circumstances apply to a request. The Federal agency also noted a technical error in a cross-reference in the paragraph. The Bureau had intended for proposed §?1070.22(d)(4) to be coextensive with the FOIA. In response to these suggestions, the Bureau has revised the provision to more closely align with the FOIA's requirements, and it has added a paragraph to address a potential court determination that exceptional circumstances apply. It has also fixed the identified cross-reference. The Bureau otherwise finalizes its proposal.

Section 1070.22(e) Waiver or Reduction of Fees

Section 1070.22(e)(5)

Section 1070.22(e)(5) provides that the Bureau will decide whether to grant or deny a request to reduce or waive fees prior to processing the FOIA request and that the Bureau will notify the requester of such a determination in writing. The Bureau proposed to delete this requirement because it is unnecessary in light of other proposed fee-related revisions. The Bureau explained in its proposal that in many cases involving requests for fee waivers, the Bureau would be able to process the FOIA request without deciding the merits of the fee waiver request because the processing fees would be less than $250. It further reasoned that removing this requirement would allow the Bureau to process FOIA requests more efficiently and provide information to requesters more quickly. Under the Bureau's proposal, the Bureau would notify a requester when it had denied a fee waiver request and processing the request would incur fees. The Bureau received no comments on this proposal and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.22(e)(6)

Section 1070.22(e)(6) specifies what information the Bureau will include in the letter it sends notifying the requester that the Bureau has denied a request for a waiver or reduction of fees. The Bureau proposed to make a technical change to this provision, removing the phrase "(of not less than $25)" to account for other newly proposed fee-related provisions. The Bureau received no comments on this proposal and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.22(f) Advance Notice and Prepayment of Fees


[top] Section 1070.22(f) describes the Bureau's process for notifying a requester of any processing fees associated with a FOIA request. The Bureau proposed several changes to this provision to clarify and streamline its process for assessing FOIA processing fees and for notifying requesters of such fees. First, the Bureau proposed to revise §?1070.22(f) to provide that the Bureau would notify a requester of the estimated fees to process a FOIA request when the estimated fees are $250 or more and the estimated fees exceed the limit set by the requester, the requester has not specified a limit, or the Bureau has denied a request for a reduction or waiver of fees. Next, the Bureau proposed to revise §?1070.22(f) to raise the fee threshold above which a requester must pre-pay estimated processing fees from $250 to $1000. The Bureau explained in its proposal that this change was necessary because of the Bureau's proposed change to §?1070.22(d): The Bureau proposed raising its previous pre-payment threshold of $250 because it would no longer charge fees for processing a request when the fees are $250 or less. The Bureau further explained that its proposed revisions to §?1070.22(f) would require a requester to agree to page 46082 pay processing fees before the Bureau began processing the request. The Bureau said that such an agreement would provide sufficient assurance of payment for fees less than $1000, and that this change was in accordance with the Bureau's practice for requiring pre-payment of fees. Furthermore, the Bureau explained that this change would allow it to process FOIA requests more efficiently and provide records to requesters more quickly. The Bureau received no comments on these proposals and it finalizes them with only technical changes to the numbering of paragraphs in the section.

Section 1070.23 Authority and Responsibilities of the Chief FOIA Officer

Section 1070.22(a) Chief FOIA Officer

Section 1070.22(a) discusses the role of the Bureau's Chief FOIA Officer. The Bureau proposed inserting two new paragraphs. The first concerns the Chief FOIA Officer's responsibility to offer training to Bureau staff regarding their responsibilities under the FOIA, and the second concerns the Chief FOIA Officer's role as the primary Bureau liaison with the OGIS and the Department of Justice's Office of Information Policy. The Bureau also proposed to renumber the provisions in this section to accommodate these changes. These changes are required by the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. The Bureau received no comments on these proposals and it finalizes them without modification.

Subpart C-Disclosure of CFPB Information in Connection With Legal Proceedings

Subpart C addresses the disclosure of Bureau information in connection with legal proceedings. The Bureau proposed several technical corrections throughout the subpart. The Bureau received no comments regarding these technical corrections, and it finalizes them without modification.

Section 1070.30 Purpose and Scope; Definitions

Section 1070.30(a)

Section 1070.30(a) defines the circumstances for which the procedures outlined in subpart C apply. The Bureau proposed to delete paragraph (a)(1) from this provision and to renumber the section accordingly. This was intended as a technical change to account for moving §?1070.31 to subpart A. The Bureau received no comments regarding this proposal, and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.30(e)

Section 1070.30(e)(2)

Section 1070.30(e)(2) defines the term "legal proceeding" for subpart C. The Bureau proposed to add the phrase "their agents" to the last sentence of this provision to clarify that this definition applies to formal and informal requests made by both attorneys and their agents. The Bureau received no comments regarding this proposal, and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Former §?1070.31 Service of Summonses and Complaints

Former §?1070.31 provided the process for serving the Bureau with summonses or complaints. As discussed above with respect to proposed §?1070.5, the Bureau proposed to delete §?1070.31 from subpart C and move it to a new §?1070.5 in subpart A. The Bureau also proposed to renumber sections and cross-references in subpart C to account for this change. The Bureau received no comments regarding these proposals, and it finalizes them without modification.

Proposed §?1070.31 Service of Subpoenas, Court Orders, and Other Demands for CFPB Information or Action

Proposed §?1070.31(d)

Proposed §?1070.31(d) (formerly §?1070.32(d)) provides that the Bureau is not authorized to accept on behalf of its employees any subpoenas, orders, or other demands or requests, which are not related to the employees' official duties. The previous text of the provision implied that it is the Bureau's practice to accept such demands or requests "upon the express, written authorization of the individual CFPB employee to whom such demand or request is directed." The Bureau proposed to delete this part of the provision because it is not the general practice of the Bureau to accept service on behalf of individual employees. The Bureau further proposed deleting the paragraph's introductory caveat, "[e]xcept as otherwise provided in this subpart," because the subpart does not otherwise provide for the Bureau to act as an agent for service for subpoenas, orders, or other demands or requests that do not relate to employees' official conduct. The Bureau received no comments regarding these proposals, and it finalizes them without modification.

Section 1070.33 Procedure When Testimony or Production of Documents is Sought; General

Section 1070.33(b)

Section 1070.33(b) provides that the General Counsel may require a party seeking official information through testimony, Bureau records, or other material, to describe all reasonably foreseeable demands for such information. The Bureau proposed to make several technical changes to clarify this provision. The Bureau received no comments regarding these changes, and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Subpart E-The Privacy Act

Section 1070.51 Authority and Responsibilities of the Chief Privacy Officer

Section 1070.51 specifies the authority and responsibilities of the Bureau's Chief Privacy Officer. The Bureau proposed to add a new paragraph at §?1070.51(a) authorizing the Chief Privacy Officer to "[d]evelop, implement, and maintain an organization-wide privacy program" and to renumber the other paragraphs in §?1070.51 to reflect this change. This change is in accordance with National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-53 Revision 4, which provides that agencies should "[appoint] a Senior Agency Official for Privacy (SAOP)/Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) accountable for developing, implementing, and maintaining an organization-wide governance and privacy program to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations regarding the collection, use, maintenance, sharing, and disposal of personally identifiable information (PII) by programs and information systems. . . ." The Bureau proposed this change to clarify the authority of its Chief Privacy Officer. The Bureau received no comments on this proposal, and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.53 Request for Access to Records

Section 1070.53(a) Procedures for Making a Request for Access to Records


[top] Section 1070.53(a) specifies the procedures for making Privacy Act requests for records. The previous text distinguished between requests made in writing and by electronic means. The Bureau proposed a technical change to this provision, to remove the phrase "or by electronic means" and add "as follows:" in its place. The Bureau also proposed changes to §?1070.53(a)(1) to page 46083 clarify how requesters must submit Privacy Act requests to the Bureau. The Bureau proposed similar changes to §§?1070.56(a) and 1070.58(b). The Bureau received no comments on this proposal and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.56 Request For Amendment of Records

Section 1070.56(a) Procedures for Making Request

Section 1070.56(a)(2)(i)

Section 1070.56(a)(2)(i) provides that an individual requesting an amendment of a record must identify the system of records containing the record. The Bureau proposed to revise this provision to allow an individual to provide a description of the record in sufficient detail to allow Bureau personnel to locate the system of records containing the record. This revision was intended to provide a requester with more flexibility in the event that the requester does not know the precise name of the applicable system of records. Furthermore, this proposal was consistent with §?1070.53(b)(2), which specifies requirements for requests for access to records. The Bureau received no comments on this proposal, and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

Section 1070.61 Training; Rules of Conduct; Penalties for Non-Compliance

Section 1070.61 addresses, among other things, the Bureau's obligations to conduct privacy-related training and establish rules of conduct related to privacy. The Bureau proposed to replace references to "employees of Government contractors" with the term "contract personnel" to avoid confusion with respect to §?1070.2(k) (proposed §?1070.2(l)), which defines the term "employee." The Bureau received no comments on this proposal, and it finalizes the proposal without modification.

VI. Section 1022(b)(2)(A) of the Dodd-Frank Act

In developing this final rule, the Bureau has considered the potential benefits, costs, and impacts as required by section 1022(b)(2)(A) of the Dodd-Frank Act.2 This analysis describes these impacts solely for the Touhy procedures as the remaining provisions of this rule are not promulgated under federal consumer financial protection laws. The benefits and costs of those provisions are discussed above. The Bureau has consulted, or offered to consult with, the prudential regulators and the Federal Trade Commission, including consultation regarding consistency with any prudential, market, or systemic objectives administered by such agencies.

Footnotes:

2 ?Section 1022(b)(2)(A) of the Dodd-Frank Act addresses the consideration of the potential benefits and costs of regulation to consumers and covered persons, including the potential reduction of access by consumers to consumer financial products or services; the impact on depository institutions and credit unions with $10 billion or less in total assets as described in section 1026 of the Dodd-Frank Act; and the impact on consumers in rural areas. Section 1022(b)(2)(B) directs the Bureau to consult, before and during the rulemaking, with appropriate prudential regulators or other Federal agencies, regarding consistency with objectives those agencies administer.

The Bureau has chosen to consider the benefits, costs, and impacts of the final rule as compared to the status quo, namely the Bureau's regulations as set forth by the Bureau on February 15, 2013, 78 FR 11483 (Feb. 15, 2013).3 The Bureau does not have data with which to quantify the benefits or costs of the final rule, nor were any data provided by commenters. As such, the discussion below considers the qualitative costs, benefits, and impacts that the Bureau anticipates from the rule. The Bureau also notes that the discussion below should be read in conjunction with the discussion of benefits and costs in the Section-by-Section discussion above.

Footnotes:

3 ?The Bureau has discretion in any rulemaking to choose an appropriate scope of analysis with respect to potential benefits and costs and an appropriate baseline.

As relevant, the final rule revises subparts A and C of part 1070 of title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations: The revisions to Subpart A offer clarifications of procedures related to the certification of authenticity of Bureau records and the service of summonses or complaints on the Bureau; the revisions to Subpart C include organizational and clarifying revisions to the provisions related to the Bureau's Touhy regulations.

As these revisions mainly include clarifications, corrections and technical changes, they will have limited impacts on consumers and covered persons.

The final rule will not have an appreciable impact on consumers' access to consumer financial products or services, as the scope of the final rule is limited to matters related to access to certain types of information, and does not relate to credit access.

The final rule will not have a unique impact on insured depository institutions or insured credit unions with $10 billion or less in assets as described in section 1026(a) of the Dodd-Frank Act as the rule does not distinguish information regarding such institutions or procedures applicable to such institutions.

The final rule will not have a unique impact on consumers in rural areas as the rule does not distinguish information regarding consumers in rural areas or procedures applicable to such consumers.

VII. Procedural Requirements

The Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (the RFA), requires each agency to consider the potential impact of its regulations on small entities, including small businesses, small governmental units, and small not-for-profit organizations, unless the head of the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The undersigned so certifies. The rule does not impose any obligations or standards of conduct for purposes of analysis under the RFA, and it therefore does not give rise to a regulatory compliance burden for small entities.

Finally, the Bureau has determined that this rule does not impose any new recordkeeping, reporting, or disclosure requirements on members of the public that would be collections of information requiring approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.

VIII. Congressional Review Act

Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq. ), the Bureau will submit a report containing this rule and other required information to the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the Comptroller General of the United States prior to the rule's published effective date. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has designated this rule as not a "major rule" as defined by 5 U.S.C. 804(2).

List of Subjects in 12 CFR Part 1070

Confidential business information, Consumer protection, Freedom of information, Privacy.

Authority and Issuance

For the reasons set forth in the preamble, the Bureau amends 12 CFR part 1070 to read as follows:

PART 1070-DISCLOSURE OF RECORDS AND INFORMATION

1. The authority citation is revised to read as follows:

Authority:

12 U.S.C. 5481 et seq.; 5 U.S.C. 552; 5 U.S.C. 552a; 18 U.S.C. 1905; 18 U.S.C. 641; 44 U.S.C. ch. 31; 44 U.S.C. ch. 35; 12 U.S.C. 3401 et seq.


[top] page 46084

Subpart A-General Provisions and Definitions

2. Revise §?1070.1 to read as follows:

§?1070.1 Authority, purpose, and scope.

(a) Authority. (1) This part is issued by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, an independent Bureau within the Federal Reserve System, pursuant to the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010, 12 U.S.C. 5481 et seq.; the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552; the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a; the Federal Records Act, 44 U.S.C. 3101; the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.; the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978, 12 U.S.C. 3401; the Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. 1905; 18 U.S.C. 641; and any other applicable law that establishes a basis for the exercise of governmental authority by the CFPB.

(2) This part establishes mechanisms for carrying out the CFPB's statutory responsibilities under the statutes in paragraph (a)(1) of this section to the extent those responsibilities require the disclosure, production, or withholding of information. In this regard, the CFPB has determined that the CFPB, and its delegates, may disclose information of the CFPB, in accordance with the procedures set forth in this part, whenever it is necessary or appropriate to do so in the exercise of any of the CFPB's authority. The CFPB has determined that all such disclosures, made in accordance with the rules and procedures specified in this part, are authorized by law.

(b) Purpose and scope. This part contains the CFPB's rules relating to the disclosure of records and information generated by and obtained by the CFPB.

(1) Subpart A contains general provisions and definitions used in this part.

(2) Subpart B implements the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552.

(3) Subpart C sets forth the procedures with respect to subpoenas, orders, or other requests for CFPB information in connection with legal proceedings.

(4) Subpart D provides for the protection of confidential information and procedures for sharing confidential information with supervised institutions, government Agencies, and others in certain circumstances.

(5) Subpart E implements the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a.

3. Revise §?1070.2(c) to read as follows:

§?1070.2 General definitions.

(c) Chief FOIA Officer means the Chief Operating Officer of the CFPB.

4. Revise §§?1070.3 and 1070.4 to read as follows:

§?1070.3 Custodian of records; certification; alternative authority.

(a) Custodian of records. The Chief Operating Officer is the official custodian of all records of the CFPB, including records that are in the possession or control of the CFPB or any CFPB employee.

(b) Certification of record. The Chief Operating Officer may certify the authenticity of any CFPB record or any copy of such record, or the absence thereof, for any purpose, and for or before any duly constituted Federal or State court, tribunal, or agency.

(c) Alternative authority. Any action or determination required or permitted to be done by the Chief Operating Officer may be done by any employee who has been duly designated for this purpose by the Chief Operating Officer.

§?1070.4 Records of the CFPB not to be otherwise disclosed.

Except as provided by this part, employees or former employees of the CFPB, or others in possession of a record of the CFPB that the CFPB has not already made public, are prohibited from disclosing such records, without authorization, to any person who is not an employee of the CFPB.

5. Add §?1070.5 to read as follows:

§?1070.5 Service of summonses and complaints.

(a) Only the General Counsel is authorized to receive and accept summonses or complaints sought to be served upon the CFPB or CFPB employees sued in their official capacity. Such documents should be served upon the General Counsel, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552. This authorization for receipt shall in no way affect the requirements of service elsewhere provided in applicable rules and regulations.

(b) If, notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this section, any summons or complaint described in that paragraph is delivered to an employee of the CFPB, the employee shall decline to accept the proffered service and may notify the person attempting to make service of the regulations set forth herein. If, notwithstanding this instruction, an employee accepts service of a document described in paragraph (a) of this section, the employee shall immediately notify and deliver a copy of the summons and complaint to the General Counsel.

(c) When a CFPB employee is sued in an individual capacity for an act or omission occurring in connection with duties performed on behalf of the CFPB (whether or not the officer or employee is also sued in an official capacity), the employee by law is to be served personally with process. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(i)(3). An employee sued in an individual capacity for an act or omission occurring in connection with duties performed on behalf of the CFPB shall immediately notify, and deliver a copy of the summons and complaint to, the General Counsel.

(d) The CFPB will only accept service of process for an employee sued in his or her official capacity. Documents for which the General Counsel accepts service in official capacity shall be marked "Service Accepted in Official Capacity Only." Acceptance of service shall not constitute an admission or waiver with respect to jurisdiction, propriety of service, improper venue, or any other defense in law or equity available under applicable laws or rules.

6. Revise subparts B and C to read as follows:

Subpart B-Freedom of Information Act

Sec. 1070.10 General.1070.11 Information made available; discretionary disclosures.1070.12 Publication in the Federal Register .1070.13 Public inspection in an electronic format.1070.14 Requests for CFPB records.1070.15 Responsibility for responding to requests for CFPB records.1070.16 Timing of responses to requests for CFPB records.1070.17 Requests for expedited processing.1070.18 Responses to requests for CFPB records.1070.19 Classified information.1070.20 Requests for business information provided to the CFPB.1070.21 Administrative appeals.1070.22 Fees for processing requests for CFPB records.1070.23 Authority and responsibilities of the Chief FOIA Officer.

Subpart C-Disclosure of CFPB Information in Connection With Legal Proceedings


[top] Sec. 1070.30 Purpose and scope; definitions.1070.31 Service of subpoenas, court orders, and other demands for CFPB information or action.1070.32 Testimony and production of documents prohibited unless approved by the General Counsel.1070.33 Procedure when testimony or production of documents is sought; general.1070.34 Procedure when response to demand is required prior to receiving instructions. page 46085 1070.35 Procedure in the event of an adverse ruling.1070.36 Considerations in determining whether the CFPB will comply with a demand or request.1070.37 Prohibition on providing expert or opinion testimony.

Subpart B-Freedom of Information Act

§?1070.10 General.

This subpart contains the regulations of the CFPB implementing the Freedom of Information Act (the FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended. These regulations set forth procedures for requesting access to records maintained by the CFPB. These regulations should be read together with the FOIA, the 1987 Office of Management and Budget Guidelines for FOIA Fees, the CFPB's Privacy Act regulations set forth in subpart E of this part, and the FOIA web page on the CFPB's website, http://www.consumerfinance.gov, which provide additional information about this topic.

§?1070.11 Information made available; discretionary disclosures.

(a) In general. The FOIA provides for public access to information and records developed or maintained by Federal agencies. Generally, the FOIA divides agency information into three major categories and provides methods by which each category of information is to be made available to the public. The three major categories of information are as follows:

(1) Information required to be published in the Federal Register (see §?1070.12);

(2) Information required to be made available for public inspection in an electronic format or, in the alternative, to be published and offered for sale (see §?1070.13); and

(3) Information required to be made available to any member of the public upon specific request (see §§?1070.14 through 1070.22).

(b) Discretionary disclosures. Even though a FOIA exemption may apply to the information or records requested, the CFPB may, if not precluded by law, elect under the circumstances not to apply the exemption. The fact that the exemption is not applied by the CFPB in response to a particular request shall have no precedential significance in processing other requests.

(c) Disclosures of records frequently requested. Subject to the application of the FOIA exemptions and exclusions (5 U.S.C. 552(b) and (c)), the CFPB shall make publicly available, as provided by §?1070.13, all records regardless of form or format, which have been released previously to any person under 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(3) and §§?1070.14 through 1070.22, and which the CFPB determines have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the same records. When the CFPB receives three (3) or more requests for substantially the same records, then the CFPB shall also make the released records publicly available.

§?1070.12 Publication in the Federal Register .

(a) Requirement. The CFPB shall separately state, publish and maintain current in the Federal Register for the guidance of the public the following information:

(1) Descriptions of its central and field organization and the established place at which, the persons from whom, and the methods whereby, the public may obtain information, make submissions or requests, or obtain decisions;

(2) Statements of the general course and method by which its functions are channeled and determined, including the nature and requirements of all formal and informal procedures available;

(3) Rules of procedure, descriptions of forms available or the places at which forms may be obtained, and instructions as to the scope and contents of all papers, reports, or examinations;

(4) Substantive rules of general applicability adopted as authorized by law, and statements of general policy or interpretations of general applicability formulated and adopted by the CFPB; and

(5) Each amendment, revision, or repeal of matters referred to in paragraphs (a)(1) through (4) of this section.

(b) Exceptions. Publication of the information under paragraph (a) of this section shall be subject to the application of the FOIA exemptions and exclusions (5 U.S.C. 552(b) and (c)) and the limitations provided in 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(1).

§?1070.13 Public inspection in an electronic format.

(a) In general. Subject to the application of the FOIA exemptions and exclusions (5 U.S.C. 552(b) and (c)), the CFPB shall, in conformance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2), make available for public inspection in an electronic format, including by posting on the CFPB's website, http://www.consumerfinance.gov, or, in the alternative, promptly publish and offer for sale the following information:

(1) Final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions, and orders made in the adjudication of cases;

(2) Those statements of policy and interpretations which have been adopted by the CFPB but are not published in the Federal Register ;

(3) Its administrative staff manuals and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public;

(4) Copies of all records made publicly available pursuant to §?1070.11; and

(5) A general index of the records referred to in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(b) Information made available online. For records required to be made available for public inspection in an electronic format pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(2) (paragraphs (a)(1) through (4) of this section), as soon as practicable, the CFPB shall make such records available on its e-FOIA Library, located at http://www.consumerfinance.gov.

(c) Record availability at the on-site e-FOIA Library. Any member of the public may, upon request, access the CFPB's e-FOIA Library via a computer terminal at 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552. Such a request may be made by electronic means as set forth on the CFPB's website, http://www.consumerfinance.gov, or in writing, to the Chief FOIA Officer, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552. The request must indicate a preferred date and time for the requested access. The CFPB reserves the right to arrange a different date and time with the requester, if necessary.

(d) Redaction of identifying details. To prevent a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, the CFPB may redact identifying details contained in any matter described in paragraphs (a)(1) through (4) of this section before making such matters available for inspection or publication. The justification for the redaction shall be explained fully in writing, and the extent of such redaction shall be indicated on the portion of the record which is made available or published, unless including that indication would harm an interest protected by the exemption in 5 U.S.C. 552(b) under which the redaction is made. If technically feasible, the extent of the redaction shall be indicated at the place in the record where the redaction is made.

§?1070.14 Requests for CFPB records.


[top] (a) In general. Subject to the application of the FOIA exemptions and exclusions (5 U.S.C. 552(b) and (c)), the CFPB shall promptly make its records available to any person pursuant to a page 46086 request that conforms to the rules and procedures of this section.

(b) Form of request. A request for records of the CFPB shall be made in writing as follows:

(1) If a request is submitted by mail or delivery service, it shall be addressed to the Chief FOIA Officer, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552. The request shall be labeled "Freedom of Information Act Request."

(2) If a request is submitted by electronic means, it shall be submitted as set forth on the CFPB's website, http://www.consumerfinance.gov. The request shall be labeled "Freedom of Information Act Request."

(c) Content of request. (1) In order to ensure the CFPB's ability to respond in a timely manner, a FOIA request must describe the records that the requester seeks in sufficient detail to enable CFPB personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. Whenever possible, the request should include specific information about each record sought, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, and subject matter of the record. If known, the requester should include any file designations or descriptions for the records requested. The more specific the requester is about the records or type of records requested, the more likely the CFPB will be able to locate those records in response to the request;

(2) In order to ensure the CFPB's ability to communicate effectively with the requester, a request should include contact information for the requester, including the name of the requester and, to the extent available, a mailing address, telephone number, and email address at which the CFPB may contact the requester regarding the request;

(3) The request should state whether the requester wishes to receive the records in a specific format;

(4) A requester should indicate in the request whether the requester is a commercial user, an educational institution, non-commercial scientific institution, representative of the news media, or "other" requester, as those terms are defined in §?1070.22(b), and the basis for claiming that fee category;

(5) If a requester seeks a waiver or reduction of fees associated with processing a request, then the request shall include a statement to that effect as is required by §?1070.22(e); and

(6) If a requester seeks expedited processing of a request, then the request must include a statement to that effect as is required by §?1070.17.

(d) Perfected requests; effect of request deficiencies. For purposes of computing its deadline to respond to a request, the CFPB will deem itself to have received a request only if, and on the date that, it receives a request that contains substantially all of the information required by and that otherwise conforms with paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section. The CFPB need not accept a request, process a request, or be bound by any deadlines in this subpart for processing a request that fails to conform, in any material respect, to the requirements of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section. If a request is deficient in any material respect, then the CFPB may return it to the requester and if it does so, it shall advise the requester in what respect the request is deficient, and what additional information is needed to respond to the request. The requester may then amend or resubmit the request. A determination by the CFPB that a request is deficient in any respect is not a denial of a request for records and such determinations are not subject to appeal. If a requester fails to respond to a CFPB notification that a request is deficient within thirty (30) days of the CFPB's notification, the CFPB will deem the request withdrawn.

(e) Requests by an individual for CFPB records pertaining to that individual. An individual who wishes to inspect or obtain copies of records of the Bureau that pertain to that individual shall provide identity verification in accordance with §?1070.53(c).

(f) Requests for CFPB records pertaining to another individual. Where a request for records pertains to a third party, a requester may receive greater access by submitting either a notarized authorization signed by that individual or a declaration by that individual made in compliance with the requirements set forth in 28 U.S.C. 1746 authorizing disclosure of the records to the requester, or submits proof that the individual is deceased ( e.g., a copy of a death certificate or an obituary). The CFPB may require a requester to supply additional information if necessary in order to verify that a particular individual has consented to disclosure.

(g) Assistance from FOIA Public Liaison. Requesters may contact the CFPB's FOIA Public Liaison to seek assistance in determining the appropriate fee category, formatting of requests, or resolving any problems that arise prior to submitting a request or during the processing of a request. The FOIA Public Liaison can be contacted at the telephone number listed on the CFPB's website, http://www.consumerfinance.gov.

§?1070.15 Responsibility for responding to requests for CFPB records.

(a) In general. In determining which records are responsive to a request, the CFPB ordinarily will include only records in its possession as of the date the CFPB begins its search for them. If any other date is used, the CFPB shall inform the requester of that date.

(b) Authority to grant or deny requests. The Chief FOIA Officer shall be authorized to grant or deny any request for a record of the CFPB.

(c) Consultations, referrals and coordination. When reviewing a record in response to a request, the CFPB will determine whether another agency is better able to determine whether the record is exempt from disclosure under the FOIA. As to any such record, the agency must proceed in one of the following ways:

(1) Referral. (i) When a requested record has been created by an agency other than the CFPB, the CFPB shall refer the record to that agency for a direct response to the requester.

(ii) Whenever the CFPB refers any part of the responsibility for responding to a request to another agency, it must document the referral, maintaining a copy of the record that it refers, and notify the requester of the referral, informing the requester of the name of the agency to which the record was referred, including that agency's FOIA contact information.

(2) Consultation. When a FOIA request is received for a record created by the CFPB that includes information originated by another agency, the CFPB shall consult the originating agency for review and recommendation on disclosure. The CFPB shall not release any such records without prior consultation with the originating agency.

(3) Coordination. The standard referral procedure is not appropriate where disclosure of the identity of the agency to which the referral would be made could harm an interest protected by an applicable exemption, such as the exemptions that protect personal privacy or national security interests. In such instances, in order to avoid harm to an interest protected by an applicable exemption, the agency that received the request should coordinate with the originating agency to seek its views on the disclosability of the record. The release determination for the record that is the subject of the coordination should then be conveyed to the requester by the agency that originally received the request.


[top] page 46087 §?1070.16 Timing of responses to requests for CFPB records.

(a) In general. Except as set forth in paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section, and §?1070.17, the CFPB shall respond to requests according to their order of receipt.

(b) Multitrack processing. (1) The CFPB may establish separate tracks to process simple and complex requests. The CFPB may assign a request to the simple or complex track(s) based on the amount of work and/or time needed to process the request. The CFPB shall process requests in each track based on the date the request was perfected in accordance with §?1070.14(d).

(2) The CFPB may provide a requester in its complex track with an opportunity to limit the scope of the request to qualify for faster processing within the specified limits of the simple track(s).

(c) Time period for responding to requests for records. Ordinarily, the CFPB shall have twenty (20) business days from when a request is received by the CFPB to determine whether to grant or deny a request for records. The twenty (20) business day time period set forth in this paragraph (c) shall not be tolled by the CFPB except that the CFPB may:

(1) Make one reasonable demand to the requester for clarifying information about the request and toll the twenty (20) business day time period while it awaits the clarifying information; or

(2) Toll the twenty (20) business day time period while it awaits clarification from or addresses any dispute with the requester regarding the assessment of fees.

(d) Unusual circumstances. (1) Where the CFPB determines that due to unusual circumstances it cannot respond either to a request within the time period set forth in paragraph (c) of this section or to an appeal within the time period set forth in §?1070.21, the CFPB may extend the applicable time periods by informing the requester in writing of the unusual circumstances and of the date by which the CFPB expects to complete its processing of the request or appeal. Any extension or extensions of time with respect to a request or an appeal shall not cumulatively total more than ten (10) business days. However, if the CFPB determines that it needs additional time beyond a ten (10) business day extension to process a request, then the CFPB shall notify the requester, provide the requester with an opportunity to limit the scope of the request, arrange for an alternative time frame for processing the request, or modify the request, and notify the requester of the availability of services provided by its FOIA Public Liaison and the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS).

(2) As used in this paragraph (d), "unusual circumstances" means:

(i) The need to search for and collect the requested records from field facilities or other establishments that are separate from the office processing the request;

(ii) The need to search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount of separate and distinct records which are demanded in a single request; or

(iii) The need for consultation, which shall be conducted with all practicable speed, with another agency having a substantial interest in the determination of the request, or among two or more CFPB offices having substantial subject matter interest therein.

§?1070.17 Requests for expedited processing.

(a) In general. The CFPB shall process a request on an expedited basis whenever a requester demonstrates a compelling need for expedited processing in accordance with the requirements of this paragraph (a) or in other cases that the CFPB deems appropriate.

(b) Form and content of a request for expedited processing. A request for expedited processing shall be made as follows:

(1) A request for expedited processing shall be made in writing and submitted as part of a request for records in accordance with §?1070.14(b), or at any time during the processing of the request. When a request for records includes a request for expedited processing, the request shall be labeled "Expedited Processing Requested."

(2) A request for expedited processing shall contain a statement that demonstrates a compelling need for the requester to obtain expedited processing of the requested records. A "compelling need" is defined as follows:

(i) Failure to obtain the requested records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual. The requester shall fully explain the circumstances warranting such an expected threat so that the CFPB may make a reasoned determination that a delay in obtaining the requested records could pose such a threat; or

(ii) With respect to a request made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal government activity. A requester who is not a full-time member of the news media must establish that the requester is a person whose primary professional activity or occupation is information dissemination, though it need not be the requester's sole occupation. Such a requester also must establish a particular urgency to inform the public about the government activity involved in the request-one that extends beyond the public's right to know about government activity generally. The existence of numerous articles published on a given subject can be helpful in establishing the requirement that there be an "urgency to inform" the public on the topic.

(3) The requester shall certify the written statement that purports to demonstrate a compelling need for expedited processing to be true and correct to the best of the requester's knowledge and belief. The certification must be in the form prescribed by 28 U.S.C. 1746: "I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. Executed on [date]." The requester shall mail or submit electronically a copy of such written certification to the Chief FOIA Officer as set forth in §?1070.14(b). The CFPB may waive this certification requirement in appropriate circumstances.

(c) Determinations of requests for expedited processing. Within ten (10) calendar days of its receipt of a request for expedited processing, the CFPB shall decide whether to grant it and shall notify the requester of the determination in writing.

(d) Effect of granting requests for expedited processing. If the CFPB grants a request for expedited processing, then the CFPB shall give the expedited request priority over non-expedited requests and shall process the expedited request as soon as practicable. The CFPB may assign expedited requests to their own simple and complex processing tracks based upon the amount of work and/or time needed to process them. Within each such track, an expedited request shall be processed in the order of its receipt.

(e) Appeals of denials of requests for expedited processing. If the CFPB denies a request for expedited processing, then the requester shall have the right to submit an appeal of the denial determination in accordance with §?1070.21. The CFPB shall communicate this appeal right as part of its written notification to the requester denying expedited processing. The requester shall label its appeal request "Appeal for Expedited Processing." The CFPB shall act expeditiously upon an appeal of a denial of a request for expedited processing.


[top] page 46088 §?1070.18 Responses to requests for CFPB records.

(a) Acknowledgements of requests. Upon receipt of a request, the CFPB will assign to the request a unique tracking number. The CFPB will send an acknowledgement letter to the requester by mail or email within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the request. The acknowledgment letter will contain the following information:

(1) The applicable request tracking number;

(2) The date of receipt of the request, as determined in accordance with §?1070.14(d), as well as the date when the requester may expect a response;

(3) A brief statement identifying the subject matter of the request; and

(4) A confirmation, with respect to any fees that may apply to the request pursuant to §?1070.22, that the requester has sought a waiver or reduction in such fees, has agreed to pay any and all applicable fees, or has specified an upper limit that the requester is willing to pay in fees to process the request.

(b) Initial determination to grant or deny a request. (1) The officer designated in §?1070.15(b), or his or her delegate, shall make initial determinations either to grant or to deny in whole or in part requests for records.

(2) If the request is granted in full or in part, and if the requester requests a copy of the records requested, then a copy of the records shall be mailed or emailed to the requester in the requested format, to the extent the records are readily producible in the requested format. The CFPB shall also send the requester a statement of the applicable fees, either at the time of the determination or shortly thereafter, and inform the requester of the availability of its FOIA Public Liaison to offer assistance.

(3) In the case of a request for inspection, the requester shall be notified in writing of the determination, when and where the requested records may be inspected, and of the fees incurred in complying with the request. The CFPB shall then promptly make the records available for inspection at the time and place stated, in a manner that will not interfere with CFPB's operations and will not exclude other persons from making inspections. The requester shall not be permitted to remove the records from the room where inspection is made. If, after making inspection, the requester desires copies of all or a portion of the requested records, copies shall be furnished upon payment of the established fees prescribed by §?1070.22. Fees may be charged for search and review time as stated in §?1070.22.

(4) If it is determined that the request for records should be denied in whole or in part, the requester shall be notified by mail or by email. The letter of notification shall:

(i) State the exemptions relied upon in denying the request;

(ii) If technically feasible, indicate the amount of information deleted and the exemptions under which the deletion is made at the place in the record where such deletion is made (unless providing such indication would harm an interest protected by the exemption relied upon to deny such material);

(iii) Set forth the name and title or position of the responsible official;

(iv) Advise the requester of the right to seek dispute resolution services from the Bureau's FOIA Public Liaison or the Office of Governmental Information Services;

(v) Advise the requester of the right to administrative appeal in accordance with §?1070.21; and

(vi) Specify the official or office to which such appeal shall be submitted.

(5) If it is determined, after a reasonable search for records, that no responsive records have been found to exist, the requester shall be notified in writing or by email. The notification shall also advise the requester of the right to administratively appeal the CFPB's determination that no responsive records exist ( i.e., to challenge the adequacy of the CFPB's search for responsive records) in accordance with §?1070.21. The response shall specify the official or office to which the appeal shall be submitted for review.

(c) Resolution of disputes. The CFPB is committed to efficiently resolving disputes during the request process. The following resources are available to requesters to resolve any disputes that may arise during the request process:

(1) FOIA Public Liaison. Any request related questions or concerns should be directed to the FOIA Public Liaison, who is responsible for reducing delays, increasing transparency and understanding of the status of requests, and assisting in the resolution of disputes.

(2) Dispute resolution. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) offers non-compulsory, non-binding dispute resolution services to help resolve FOIA disputes. A requester may contact OGIS directly at Office of Government Information Services, National Archives and Records Administration, Room 2510, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001, Email: ogis@nara.gov, Phone: (301) 837-1996, Fax: (301) 837-0348. This information is provided as a public service only. By providing this information, the CFPB does not commit to refer disputes to OGIS.

(d) Format of records disclosed. (1) The CFPB will provide records in the requested format if the records can readily be reproduced from the original file to that specific format.

(2) The CFPB may charge fees associated with converting records or files into the requested format in accordance with §?1070.22.

§?1070.19 Classified information.

Whenever a request is made for a record containing information that another agency has classified, or which may be appropriate for classification by another agency under Executive Order 13526 or any other executive order concerning the classification of information, the CFPB shall refer the responsibility for responding to the request to the classifying or originating agency, as appropriate.

§?1070.20 Requests for business information provided to the CFPB.

(a) In general. Business information provided to the CFPB by a business submitter shall not be disclosed pursuant to a FOIA request except in accordance with this section.

(b) Definitions. For purposes of this section:

(1) Business information means commercial or financial information obtained by the CFPB from a submitter that may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4).

(2) Submitter means any person from whom the CFPB obtains business information, directly or indirectly. The term includes, without limitation, corporations, State, local, and tribal governments, and foreign governments.

(c) Designation of business information. A submitter of business information will use good-faith efforts to designate, by appropriate markings, either at the time of submission or at a reasonable time thereafter, any portions of its submission that it considers to be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4 of the FOIA. These designations will expire ten (10) years after the date of the submission unless the submitter requests otherwise and provides justification for, a longer designation period.


[top] (d) Notice to submitters. The CFPB shall provide a submitter with prompt written notice of receipt of a request or appeal encompassing its business information whenever required in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section. Such written notice shall either page 46089 describe the exact nature of the business information requested or provide copies of the records or portions of records containing the business information. When notification of a voluminous number of submitters is required, notification may be made by posting or publishing the notice in a place reasonably likely to accomplish it.

(e) When notice is required. (1) The CFPB shall provide a submitter with notice of receipt of a request or appeal whenever:

(i) The information has been designated in good faith by the submitter as information considered protected from disclosure under Exemption 4; or

(ii) The CFPB has reason to believe that the information may be protected from disclosure under Exemption 4.

(2) The notice requirements of this paragraph (e) shall not apply if:

(i) The CFPB determines that the information is exempt under the FOIA;

(ii) The information lawfully has been published or otherwise made available to the public;

(iii) Disclosure of the information is required by statute (other than the FOIA) or by a regulation issued in accordance with the requirements of Executive Order 12600 (3 CFR, 1988 Comp., p. 235); or

(iv) The designation made by the submitter under paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section appears obviously frivolous, except that, in such a case, the CFPB shall, within a reasonable time prior to a specified disclosure date, give the submitter written notice of any final decision to disclose the information.

(f) Opportunity to object to disclosure before release. (1) Through the notice described in paragraph (d) of this section, the CFPB shall delay any release in order to afford a submitter ten (10) business days from the date of the notice to provide the CFPB with a detailed statement of any objection to disclosure. Such statement shall specify all grounds for withholding any of the information under any exemption of the FOIA and, in the case of Exemption 4, shall demonstrate why the information is considered to be a trade secret or commercial or financial information that is privileged or confidential. In the event that a submitter fails to respond to the notice within the time specified in it, the submitter shall be considered to have no objection to disclosure of the information. Information provided by a submitter pursuant to this paragraph (f) may itself be subject to disclosure under the FOIA.

(2) When notice is given to a submitter under this section, the requester shall be advised that such notice has been given to the submitter. The requester shall be further advised that a delay in responding to the request may be considered a denial of access to records and that the requester may proceed with an administrative appeal or seek judicial review, if appropriate. However, the requester will be invited to agree to a voluntary extension of time so that the CFPB may review the submitter's objection to disclose, if any.

(g) Notice of intent to disclose. The CFPB shall consider a submitter's objections and specific grounds for nondisclosure prior to determining whether to disclose business information. Whenever the CFPB decides to disclose business information over the objection of a submitter, the CFPB shall forward to the submitter a written notice which shall include:

(1) A statement of the reasons for which the submitter's disclosure objections were not sustained;

(2) A description of the business information to be disclosed; and

(3) A specified disclosure date which is not less than ten (10) business days after the notice of the final decision to release the requested information has been mailed to the submitter. Except as otherwise prohibited by law, a copy of the disclosure notice shall be forwarded to the requester at the same time.

(h) Notice to submitter of FOIA lawsuit. Whenever a requester brings suit seeking to compel disclosure of business information, the CFPB shall promptly notify the submitter of that business information of the existence of the suit.

(i) Notice to requester of business information. The CFPB shall notify a requester whenever it provides the submitter with notice and an opportunity to object to disclosure; whenever it notifies the submitter of its intent to disclose the requested information; and whenever a submitter files a lawsuit to prevent the disclosure of the information.

§?1070.21 Administrative appeals.

(a) Grounds for administrative appeals. A requester may appeal an initial determination of the CFPB, including for the following reasons:

(1) To deny access to records in whole or in part (as provided in §?1070.18(b));

(2) To assign a particular fee category to the requester (as provided in §?1070.22(b));

(3) To deny a request for a reduction or waiver of fees (as provided in §?1070.22(e));

(4) That no records exist that are responsive to the request (as provided in §?1070.18(b)); or

(5) To deny a request for expedited processing (as provided in §?1070.17(e)).

(b) Time limits for filing administrative appeals. An appeal, other than an appeal of a denial of expedited processing, must be postmarked or submitted electronically on a date that is within ninety (90) calendar days after the date the initial determination is sent to the requester or the date of the letter transmitting the last records released, whichever is later. An appeal of a denial of expedited processing must be made within ten (10) days of the date of the initial determination letter to deny expedited processing (see §?1070.17).

(c) Form and content of administrative appeals. In order to ensure a timely response to an appeal, the appeal shall be made in writing as follows:

(1) If appeal is submitted by mail or delivery service, it shall be addressed to and submitted to the officer specified in paragraph (e) of this section at the address set forth in §?1070.14(b). The appeal shall be labeled "Freedom of Information Act Appeal."

(2) If an appeal is submitted by electronic means, it shall be addressed to the officer specified in paragraph (e) of this section and submitted as set forth on the CFPB's website, http://www.consumerfinance.gov. The appeal shall be labeled "Freedom of Information Act Appeal."

(3) The appeal shall set forth contact information for the requester, including, to the extent available, a mailing address, telephone number, or email address at which the CFPB may contact the requester regarding the appeal; and

(4) The appeal shall specify the applicable request tracking number, the date of the initial request, and the date of the letter of initial determination, and, where possible, enclose a copy of the initial request and the initial determination being appealed.

(d) Processing of administrative appeals. The FOIA office will record the date that appeals are received. The receipt of the appeal will be acknowledged by the CFPB and the requester will be advised of the date the appeal was received, the appeal tracking number, and the expected date of response.


[top] (e) Determinations to grant or deny administrative appeals. The General Counsel is authorized to and shall decide whether to affirm the initial determination (in whole or in part), to reverse the initial determination (in whole or in part) or to remand the initial determination to the Chief FOIA Officer for further action and shall notify the requester of this decision in writing page 46090 within twenty (20) business days after the date of receipt of the appeal, unless extended pursuant to §?1070.16(d).

(1) If it is decided that the appeal is to be denied (in whole or in part) the requester shall be:

(i) Notified in writing of the denial;

(ii) Notified of the reasons for the denial, including which of the FOIA exemptions were relied upon;

(iii) Notified of the name and title or position of the official responsible for the determination on appeal;

(iv) Provided with a statement that judicial review of the denial is available in the United States District Court for the judicial district in which the requester resides or has a principal place of business, the judicial district in which the requested records are located, or the District of Columbia in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(a)(4)(B); and

(v) Provided with notification that dispute resolution services are available to the requester as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation through the Office of Government Information Services in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 552(h)(3). Dispute resolution is a voluntary process. If the CFPB agrees to participate in the dispute resolution services provided by the Office of Governmental Information Services, it will actively engage as a partner to the process in an attempt to resolve the dispute.

(2) If the initial determination is reversed on appeal, the requester shall be so notified and the request shall be processed promptly in accordance with the decision on appeal.

(3) If the initial determination is remanded on appeal to the Chief FOIA Officer for further action, the requester shall be so notified and the request shall be processed in accordance with the decision on appeal. The remanded request shall be treated as a new request received by the CFPB as of the date when the General Counsel transmits the remand notification to the requester. The procedures and deadlines set forth in this subpart for processing, deciding, responding to, and filing administrative appeals of new FOIA requests shall apply to the remanded request.

(f) Adjudication of administrative appeals of requests in litigation. An appeal ordinarily will not be adjudicated if the request becomes a matter of FOIA litigation.

§?1070.22 Fees for processing requests for CFPB records.

(a) In general. The CFPB shall determine whether and to what extent to charge a requester fees for processing a FOIA request, for the services and in the amounts set forth in this paragraph (a), by determining an appropriate fee category for the requester (as set forth in paragraph (b) of this section) and then by charging the requester those fees applicable to the assigned category (as set forth in paragraph (c) of this section), unless circumstances exist (as described in paragraph (d) of this section) that render fees inapplicable or unless the requester has requested and the CFPB has granted a reduction in or waiver of fees (as set forth in paragraph (e) of this section).

(1) The CFPB shall charge a requester fees for the cost of copying or printing records at the rate of $0.10 per page.

(2) The CFPB shall charge a requester for all time spent by its employees searching for records that are responsive to a request. The CFPB shall charge the requester fees for search time as follows:

(i) The CFPB shall charge for search time at the salary rate(s) (basic pay plus sixteen (16) percent) of the employee(s) who conduct the search. However, the CFPB shall charge search fees at the rate of $9.00 per fifteen (15) minutes of search time whenever only administrative/clerical employees conduct a search and at the rate of $23.00 per fifteen (15) minutes of search time whenever only professional/executive employees conduct a search. Search charges shall also include transportation of employees and records necessary to the search at actual cost. Fees may be charged for search time even if the search does not yield any responsive records, or if records are exempt from disclosure.

(ii) The CFPB shall charge the requester for the actual direct costs of conducting an electronic records search, including computer search time, runs, and output. The CFPB shall also charge for time spent by computer operators or programmers (at the rates set forth in paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section) who conduct or assist in the conduct of an electronic records search.

(3) The CFPB shall charge a requester for time spent by its employees examining responsive records to determine whether any portions of such record are exempt from disclosure, pursuant to the FOIA exemptions of 5 U.S.C. 552(b). The CFPB shall also charge a requester for time spent by its employees redacting any such exempt information from a record and preparing a record for release to the requester. The CFPB shall charge a requester for time spent reviewing records at the salary rate(s) ( i.e., basic pay plus sixteen (16) percent) of the employees who conduct the review. However, the CFPB shall charge review fees at the rate of $9.00 per fifteen (15) minutes of search time whenever only administrative/clerical employees review records and at the rate of $23.00 per fifteen (15) minutes of search time whenever only professional/executive employees review records. Fees shall be charged for review time even if records ultimately are not disclosed.

(4) Fees for all services provided shall be charged whether or not copies are made available to the requester for inspection. However, no fee shall be charged for monitoring a requester's inspection of records.

(5) Other services and materials requested which are not covered by this part nor required by the FOIA are chargeable at the actual cost to the CFPB. This includes, but is not limited to:

(i) Certifying that records are true copies; or

(ii) Sending records by special methods such as express mail, etc.

(b) Categories of requesters. (1) For purposes of assessing fees as set forth in this section, each requester shall be assigned to one of the following categories:

(i) Commercial user refers to one who seeks information for a use or purpose that furthers the commercial, trade, or profit interests of the requester or the person on whose behalf the request is made, which can include furthering those interests through litigation. The CFPB's decision to place a requester in the commercial use category will be made on a case-by-case basis based on how the requester will use the information.

(ii) Educational institution refers to any school that operates a program of scholarly research. A requester in this fee category must show that the request is made in connection with his or her role at the educational institution. Agencies may seek verification from the requester that the request is in furtherance of scholarly research and agencies will advise requesters of their placement in this category.

Example 1 to paragraph (b)(1)(ii). A request from a professor of geology at a university for records relating to soil erosion, written on letterhead of the Department of Geology, would be presumed to be from an educational institution.


[top] Example 2 to paragraph (b)(1)(ii). A request from the same professor of geology seeking drug information from the Food and Drug Administration in furtherance of a murder mystery he is writing would not be presumed to be an institutional request, regardless of whether it was written on institutional stationery. page 46091

Example 3 to paragraph (b)(1)(ii). A student who makes a request in furtherance of their coursework or other school-sponsored activities and provides a copy of a course syllabus or other reasonable documentation to indicate the research purpose for the request, would qualify as part of this fee category.

(iii) Non-commercial scientific institution refers to an institution that is not operated on a "commercial user" basis as that term is defined in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, and which is operated solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research, the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry.

(iv) Representative of the news media refers to any person or entity that gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. In this paragraph (b)(1)(iv), the term "news" means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Examples of news-media entities are television or radio stations broadcasting to the public at large and publishers of periodicals (but only if such entities qualify as disseminators of "news") who make their products available for purchase by or subscription by or free distribution to the general public. Other examples of news media entities include online publications and websites that regularly deliver news content to the public. These examples are not all-inclusive. Moreover, as methods of news delivery evolve (for example, the adoption of the electronic dissemination of newspapers through telecommunications services), such alternative media shall be considered to be news-media entities. A freelance journalist shall be regarded as working for a news-media entity if the journalist can demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through that entity, whether or not the journalist is actually employed by the entity. A publication contract would present a solid basis for such an expectation; the CFPB may also consider the past publication record of the requester in making such a determination.

(v) Other requester refers to a requester who does not fall within any of the categories described in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) through (iv) of this section.

(2) Within twenty (20) calendar days of its receipt of a request, the CFPB shall make a determination as to the proper fee category to apply to a requester. The CFPB shall inform the requester of the determination in the request acknowledgment letter, or if no such letter is required, in another writing. Where the CFPB has reasonable cause to doubt the use to which a requester will put the records sought, or where that use is not clear from the request itself, the CFPB should seek additional clarification before assigning the request to a specific category.

(3) If the CFPB assigns to a requester a fee category, then the requester shall have the right to submit an appeal of the CFPB's determination in accordance with §?1070.21. The CFPB shall communicate this appeal right as part of its written notification to the requester of an adverse fee category determination. The requester shall label its appeal request "Appeal of Fee Category Determination."

(c) Fees applicable to each category of requester. The following fee schedule applies uniformly throughout the CFPB to requests processed under the FOIA. Specific levels of fees are prescribed for each category of requester defined in paragraph (b) of this section.

(1) Commercial users shall be charged the full direct costs of searching for, reviewing, and duplicating the records they request. Moreover, when a request is received for disclosure that is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester, the CFPB is not required to consider a request for a waiver or reduction of fees based upon the assertion that disclosure would be in the public interest. The CFPB may recover the cost of searching for and reviewing records even if there is ultimately no disclosure of records or no records are located.

(2) Educational and non-commercial scientific institution requesters shall be charged only for the cost of duplicating the records they request, except that the CFPB shall provide the first one hundred (100) pages of duplication free of charge.

(3) Representatives of the news media shall be charged only for the cost of duplicating the records they request, except that the CFPB shall provide them with the first one hundred (100) pages of duplication free of charge.

(4) Other requesters who do not fit any of the categories described in paragraphs (c)(1) through (3) of this section shall be charged the full direct cost of searching for and duplicating records that are responsive to the request, except that the CFPB shall provide the first one hundred (100) pages of duplication and the first two hours of search time free of charge. The CFPB may recover the cost of searching for records even if there is ultimately no disclosure of records, or no records are located. Requests from persons for records about themselves filed in the CFPB's systems of records shall continue to be treated under the fee provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a, which permit fees only for duplication, after the first one hundred (100) pages are furnished free of charge.

(d) Other circumstances when fees are not charged. In the following situations the CFPB may not charge a requester certain FOIA processing fees.

(1) If the cost of collecting a fee would be equal to or greater than the total FOIA processing fee, then the CFPB shall not charge a requester any FOIA processing fees.

(2) If the total search and review fees are less than $250, then the CFPB shall not charge a requester any search and review fees.

(3) If the CFPB has waived or reduced FOIA processing fees in accordance with paragraph (e) of this section, then the CFPB shall not charge the portion of the FOIA processing fees that has been waived or reduced.

(4) If the CFPB fails to comply with any time limit under §?1070.15 or §?1070.21, then the CFPB shall not assess search fees or if the requester is a representative of the news media or an educational or noncommercial scientific institution, then the CFPB shall not assess duplication fees, unless:

(i) A court has determined that exceptional circumstances, as defined by the FOIA, exist; or

(ii) The CFPB has determined that unusual circumstances apply to the processing of the request; and

(A) Provided timely written notice to the requester of the unusual circumstances in accordance with §?1070.16(d);

(B) Determined that more than 5,000 pages are necessary to respond to the request; and

(C) Discussed with the requester via mail, email, or telephone (or made not less than three good-faith attempts to do so) how the requester could effectively limit the scope of the request.

(5) If the CFPB determines, as a matter of administrative discretion, that waiving or reducing the fees would serve the interest of the United States Government.

(e) Waiver or reduction of fees. (1) A requester shall be entitled to receive from the CFPB a waiver or reduction in the fees otherwise applicable to a FOIA request whenever the requester:

(i) Requests such waiver or reduction of fees in writing as part of the FOIA request;


[top] (ii) Labels the request for waiver or reduction of fees "Fee Waiver or page 46092 Reduction Requested" on the FOIA request; and

(iii) Demonstrates that the fee reduction or waiver request that a waiver or reduction of the fees is in the public interest because:

(A) Furnishing the information is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government; and

(B) Furnishing the information is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.

(2) To determine whether the requester has satisfied the requirements of paragraph (e)(1)(iii)(A) of this section, the CFPB shall consider the following factors:

(i) The subject of the requested records must concern identifiable operations or activities of the Federal government, with a connection that is direct and clear, and not remote or attenuated.

(ii) The disclosable portions of the requested records must be meaningfully informative about government operations or activities in order to be "likely to contribute" to an increased public understanding of those operations or activities. The disclosure of information that already is in the public domain, in either a duplicative or a substantially similar form, is not as likely to contribute to the public's understanding.

(iii) The disclosure must contribute to the understanding of a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject, as opposed to the individual understanding of the requester. A requester's expertise in the subject area and ability and intention to effectively convey information to the public shall be considered. It shall be presumed that a representative of the news media will satisfy this consideration.

(iv) The public's understanding of the subject in question, as compared to the level of public understanding existing prior to the disclosure, must be enhanced by the disclosure to a significant extent.

(3) To determine whether the requester has satisfied the requirements of paragraph (e)(1)(iii)(B) of this section, the CFPB shall consider the following factors:

(i) The CFPB shall consider any commercial interest of the requester (with reference to the definition of "commercial user" in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section), or of any person on whose behalf the requester may be acting, that would be furthered by the requested disclosure. Requesters shall be given an opportunity in the administrative process to provide explanatory information regarding this consideration.

(ii) A fee waiver or reduction is justified where the public interest standard is satisfied and that public interest is greater in magnitude than that of any identified commercial interest in disclosure. The CFPB ordinarily shall presume that where a news media requester has satisfied the public interest standard, the public interest will be the interest primarily served by disclosure to that requester. Disclosure to data brokers or others who merely compile and market government information for direct economic return shall not be presumed to primarily serve the public interest.

(4) Where only some of the records to be released satisfy the requirements for a waiver of fees, a waiver shall be granted for those records.

(5) If the CFPB denies a request to reduce or waive fees, then the CFPB shall advise the requester, in the denial notification letter, that the requester may incur fees if the CFPB proceeds to process the request. The notification letter shall also advise the requester that the CFPB will not proceed to process the request further unless the requester, in writing, directs the CFPB to do so and either agrees to pay any fees that may apply to processing the request or specifies an upper limit that the requester is willing to pay to process the request. If the CFPB does not receive this written direction and agreement/specification within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of the denial notification letter, then the CFPB shall deem the request to be withdrawn.

(6) If the CFPB denies a request to reduce or waive fees, then the requester shall have the right to submit an appeal of the denial determination in accordance with §?1070.21. The CFPB shall communicate this appeal right as part of its written notification to the requester denying the fee reduction or waiver request. The requester should label its appeal request "Appeal for Fee Reduction/Waiver."

(f) Advance notice and prepayment of fees. (1) The CFPB shall notify a requester of the estimated fees for processing a request and provide a breakdown of the fees attributable to search, review, and duplication, when the estimated fees are $250 or more and:

(i) The fees exceed the limit set by the requester;

(ii) The requester did not specify a limit; or

(iii) The CFPB has denied a request for a reduction or waiver of fees.

(2) The requester must provide an agreement to pay the estimated fees; however, the requester shall also be given an opportunity to reformulate the request in an attempt to reduce fees.

(3) If the fees are estimated to exceed $1000, the requester must pre-pay such amount prior to the processing of the request, or provide satisfactory assurance of full payment if the requester has a history of prompt payment of FOIA fees. The requester shall also be given an opportunity to reformulate the request in such a way as to lower the applicable fees.

(4) The CFPB reserves the right to request prepayment after a request is processed and before documents are released.

(5) If a requester has previously failed to pay a fee within thirty (30) calendar days of the date of the billing, the requester shall be required to pay the full amount owed plus any applicable interest and to make an advance payment of the full amount of the estimated fee before the CFPB begins to process a new request or the pending request.

(6) When the CFPB acts under paragraphs (f)(1) through (5) of this section, the statutory time limits of twenty (20) days (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) from receipt of initial requests or appeals, plus extensions of these time limits, shall begin only after fees have been paid, a written agreement to pay fees has been provided, or a request has been reformulated.

(g) Form of payment. Payment may be tendered as set forth on the CFPB's website, http://www.consumerfinance.gov.

(h) Charging interest. The CFPB may charge interest on any unpaid bill starting on the 31st day following the date of billing the requester. Interest charges will be assessed at the rate provided in 31 U.S.C. 3717 and will accrue from the date of the billing until payment is received by the CFPB. The CFPB will follow the provisions of the Debt Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97-365, 96 Stat. 1749), as amended, and its administrative procedures, including the use of consumer reporting agencies, collection agencies, and offset.


[top] (i) Aggregating requests. Where the CFPB reasonably believes that a requester or a group of requesters acting together is attempting to divide a request into a series of requests for the purpose of avoiding fees, the CFPB may aggregate those requests and charge accordingly. The CFPB may presume that multiple requests of this type made within a thirty (30) day period have been made in order to avoid fees. Where requests are separated by a longer period, the CFPB will aggregate them only where there exists a solid basis for page 46093 determining that aggregation is warranted under all the circumstances involved. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated.

§?1070.23 Authority and responsibilities of the Chief FOIA Officer.

(a) Chief FOIA Officer. The Director authorizes the Chief FOIA Officer to act upon all requests for agency records, with the exception of determining appeals from the initial determinations of the Chief FOIA Officer, which will be decided by the General Counsel. The Chief FOIA officer shall, subject to the authority of the Director:

(1) Have CFPB-wide responsibility for efficient and appropriate compliance with the FOIA;

(2) Monitor implementation of the FOIA throughout the CFPB and keep the Director, the General Counsel, and the Attorney General appropriately informed of the CFPB's performance in implementing the FOIA;

(3) Recommend to the Director such adjustments to agency practices, policies, personnel and funding as may be necessary to improve the Chief FOIA Officer's implementation of the FOIA;

(4) Review and report to the Attorney General, through the Director, at such times and in such formats as the Attorney General may direct, on the CFPB's performance in implementing the FOIA;

(5) Facilitate public understanding of the purposes of the statutory exemptions of the FOIA by including concise descriptions of the exemptions in both the CFPB's handbook and the CFPB's annual report on the FOIA, and by providing an overview, where appropriate, of certain general categories of CFPB records to which those exemptions apply;

(6) Designate one or more FOIA Public Liaisons;

(7) Offer Training to Bureau staff regarding their responsibilities under the FOIA;

(8) Serve as the primary Bureau liaison with the Office of Government Information Services and the Office of Information Policy; and

(9) Maintain and update, as necessary and in accordance with the requirements of this subpart, the CFPB's FOIA website, including its e-FOIA Library.

(b) FOIA Public Liaisons. FOIA Public Liaisons shall report to the Chief FOIA Officer and shall serve as supervisory officials to whom a requester can raise concerns about the service the requester has received from the CFPB's FOIA office, following an initial response from the FOIA office staff. FOIA Public Liaisons shall be responsible for assisting in reducing delays, increasing transparency and understanding of the status of requests, and assisting in the resolution of disputes.

Subpart C-Disclosure of CFPB Information in Connection with Legal Proceedings

§?1070.30 Purpose and scope; definitions.

(a) This subpart sets forth the procedures to be followed with respect to subpoenas, court orders, or other requests or demands for any CFPB information, whether contained in the files of the CFPB or acquired by a CFPB employee as part of the performance of that employee's duties or by virtue of employee's official status.

(b) This subpart does not apply to requests for official information made pursuant to subparts B, D, and E of this part.

(c) This subpart does not apply to requests for information made in the course of adjudicating claims against the CFPB by CFPB employees (present or former) or applicants for CFPB employment for which jurisdiction resides with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, the Office of Special Counsel, the Federal Labor Relations Authority, or their successor agencies, or a labor arbitrator operating under a collective bargaining agreement between the CFPB and a labor organization representing CFPB employees.

(d) This subpart is intended only to inform the public about CFPB procedures concerning the service of process and responses to subpoenas, summons, or other demands or requests for official information or action and is not intended to and does not create, and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law by a party against the CFPB or the United States.

(e) For purposes of this subpart:

(1) Demand means a subpoena or order for official information, whether contained in CFPB records or through testimony, related to or for possible use in a legal proceeding.

(2) Legal proceeding encompasses all pre-trial, trial, and post-trial stages of all judicial or administrative actions, hearings, investigations, or similar proceedings before courts, commissions, boards, grand juries, arbitrators, or other judicial or quasi-judicial bodies or tribunals, whether criminal, civil, or administrative in nature, and whether foreign or domestic. This phrase includes all stages of discovery as well as formal or informal requests by attorneys, their agents, or others involved in legal proceedings.

(3) Official Information means all information of any kind, however stored, that is in the custody and control of the CFPB or was acquired by CFPB employees, or former employees as part of their official duties or because of their official status while such individuals were employed by or served on behalf of the CFPB. Official information also includes any information acquired by CFPB employees or former employees while such individuals were engaged in matters related to consumer financial protection functions prior to the employees' transfer to the CFPB pursuant to Subtitle F of the Consumer Financial Protection Act of 2010.

(4) Request means any request for official information in the form of testimony, affidavits, declarations, admissions, responses to interrogatories, document production, inspections, or formal or informal interviews, during the course of a legal proceeding, including pursuant to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, or other applicable rules of procedure.

(5) Testimony means a statement in any form, including personal appearances before a court or other legal tribunal, interviews, depositions, telephonic, televised, or videographed statements or any responses given during discovery or similar proceeding in the course of litigation.

§?1070.31 Service of subpoenas, court orders, and other demands for CFPB information or action.

(a) Except in cases in which the CFPB is represented by legal counsel who have entered an appearance or otherwise given notice of their representation, only the General Counsel is authorized to receive and accept subpoenas or other demands or requests directed to the CFPB or its employees, whether civil or criminal in nature, for:

(1) Records of the CFPB;

(2) Official information including, but not limited to, testimony, affidavits, declarations, admissions, responses to interrogatories, or informal statements, relating to material contained in the files of the CFPB or which any CFPB employee acquired in the course and scope of the performance of his or her official duties;

(3) Garnishment or attachment of compensation of current or former employees; or

(4) The performance or non-performance of any official CFPB duty.


[top] (b) Documents described in paragraph (a) of this section should be served upon page 46094 the General Counsel, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552. Service must be effected as provided in applicable rules and regulations governing service in Federal judicial and administrative proceedings. Acceptance of such documents by the General Counsel does not constitute a waiver of any defense that might otherwise exist with respect to service under the Federal Rules of Civil or Criminal Procedure or other applicable laws or regulations.

(c) In the event that any demand or request described in paragraph (a) of this section is sought to be delivered to a CFPB employee other than in the manner prescribed in paragraph (b) of this section, such employee shall decline service and direct the server of process to these regulations. If the demand or request is nonetheless delivered to the employee, the employee shall immediately notify, and deliver a copy of that document to, the General Counsel.

(d) The CFPB is not an agent for service for, or otherwise authorized to accept on behalf of its employees, any subpoenas, orders, or other demands or requests, which are not related to the employees' official duties.

(e) Copies of any subpoenas, orders, or other demands or requests that are directed to former employees of the CFPB in connection with the performance of official CFPB duties shall also be served upon the General Counsel. The CFPB shall not, however, serve as an agent for service for the former employee, nor is the CFPB otherwise authorized to accept service on behalf of its former employees. If the demand involves their official duties as CFPB employees, former employees who receive subpoenas, orders, or similar compulsory process should also notify, and deliver a copy of the document to, the General Counsel.

§?1070.32 Testimony and production of documents prohibited unless approved by the General Counsel.

(a) Unless authorized by the General Counsel, no employee or former employee of the CFPB shall, in response to a demand or a request provide oral or written testimony by deposition, declaration, affidavit, or otherwise concerning any official information.

(b) Unless authorized by the General Counsel, no employee or former employee shall, in response to a demand or request, produce any document or any material acquired as part of the performance of that employee's duties or by virtue of that employee's official status.

§?1070.33 Procedure when testimony or production of documents is sought; general.

(a) If, as part of a proceeding in which the United States or the CFPB is not a party, official information is sought through a demand for testimony, CFPB records, or other material, the party seeking such information must (except as otherwise required by Federal law or authorized by the General Counsel) set forth in writing:

(1) The title and forum of the proceeding, if applicable;

(2) A detailed description of the nature and relevance of the official information sought;

(3) A showing that other evidence reasonably suited to the requester's needs is not available from any other source; and

(4) If testimony is requested, the intended use of the testimony, a general summary of the desired testimony, and a showing that no document could be provided and used in lieu of testimony.

(b) To the extent he or she deems necessary or appropriate, the General Counsel may also require from the party seeking such information a plan of all reasonably foreseeable demands, including but not limited to the names of all employees and former employees from whom testimony or discovery will be sought, areas of inquiry, expected duration of proceedings requiring oral testimony, identification of potentially relevant documents, or any other information deemed necessary to make a determination. The purpose of this requirement is to assist the General Counsel in making an informed decision regarding whether testimony, the production of documents, or the provision of other information should be authorized.

(c) The General Counsel may consult or negotiate with an attorney for a party, or the party if not represented by an attorney, to refine or limit a request or demand so that compliance is less burdensome.

(d) The General Counsel will notify the CFPB employee and such other persons as circumstances may warrant of his or her decision regarding compliance with the request or demand.

§?1070.34 Procedure when response to demand is required prior to receiving instructions.

(a) If a response to a demand described in §?1070.33 is required before the General Counsel renders a decision, the CFPB will request that the appropriate CFPB attorney or an attorney of the Department of Justice, as appropriate, take steps to stay, postpone, or obtain relief from the demand pending decision. If necessary, the attorney will:

(1) Appear with the employee upon whom the demand has been made;

(2) Furnish the court or other authority with a copy of the regulations contained in this subpart;

(3) Inform the court or other authority that the demand has been, or is being, as the case may be, referred for the prompt consideration of the appropriate CFPB official; and

(4) Request the court or authority to stay the demand pending receipt of the requested instructions.

(b) In the event that an immediate demand for production or disclosure is made in circumstances which would preclude the proper designation or appearance of an attorney of the CFPB or the Department of Justice on the employee's behalf, the employee, if necessary, shall request from the demanding court or authority a reasonable stay of proceedings for the purpose of obtaining instructions from the General Counsel.

§?1070.35 Procedure in the event of an adverse ruling.

If a stay of, or other relief from, the effect of a demand made pursuant to §§?1070.33 and 1070.34 is declined or not obtained, or if the court or other judicial or quasi-judicial authority declines to stay the effect of the demand made pursuant to §§?1070.33 and 1070.34, or if the court or other authority rules that the demand must be complied with irrespective of the General Counsel's instructions not to produce the material or disclose the information sought, the employee upon whom the demand has been made shall decline to comply with the demand citing this subpart and United States ex rel. Touhy v. Ragen, 340 U.S. 462 (1951).

§?1070.36 Considerations in determining whether the CFPB will comply with a demand or request.

(a) In deciding whether to comply with a demand or request, CFPB officials and attorneys shall consider, among other pertinent considerations:

(1) Whether such compliance would be unduly burdensome or otherwise inappropriate under the applicable rules of discovery or the rules of procedure governing the case or matter in which the demand arose;

(2) Whether the number of similar requests would have a cumulative effect on the expenditure of CFPB resources;


[top] (3) Whether compliance is appropriate under the relevant substantive law concerning privilege or disclosure of information; page 46095

(4) The public interest;

(5) The need to conserve the time of CFPB employees for the conduct of official business;

(6) The need to avoid spending time and money of the United States for private purposes;

(7) The need to maintain impartiality between private litigants in cases where a substantial government interest is not implicated;

(8) Whether compliance would have an adverse effect on performance by the CFPB of its mission and duties;

(9) The need to avoid involving the CFPB in controversial issues not related to its mission;

(10) Whether compliance would interfere with supervisory examinations, compromise the CFPB's supervisory functions or programs, or undermine public confidence in supervised financial institutions; and

(11) Whether compliance would interfere with the CFPB's ability to monitor for risks to consumers in the offering or provision of consumer financial products and services.

(b) Among those demands and requests in response to which compliance will not ordinarily be authorized are those with respect to which any of the following factors, inter alia, exist:

(1) Compliance would violate a statute or applicable rule of procedure;

(2) Compliance would violate a specific regulation or Executive order;

(3) Compliance would reveal information properly classified in the interest of national security;

(4) Compliance would reveal confidential or privileged commercial or financial information or trade secrets without the owner's consent;

(5) Compliance would compromise the integrity of the deliberative processes of the CFPB;

(6) Compliance would not be appropriate or necessary under the relevant substantive law governing privilege;

(7) Compliance would reveal confidential information; or

(8) Compliance would interfere with ongoing investigations or enforcement proceedings, compromise constitutional rights, or reveal the identity of a confidential informant.

(c) The CFPB may condition disclosure of official information pursuant to a request or demand on the entry of an appropriate protective order.

§?1070.37 Prohibition on providing expert or opinion testimony.

(a) Except as provided in this section, and subject to 5 CFR 2635.805, CFPB employees or former employees shall not provide opinion or expert testimony based upon information which they acquired in the scope and performance of their official CFPB duties, except on behalf of the CFPB or the United States or a party represented by the CFPB, or the Department of Justice, as appropriate.

(b) Any expert or opinion testimony by a former employee of the CFPB shall be excepted from paragraph (a) of this section where the testimony involves only general expertise gained while employed at the CFPB.

(c) Upon a showing by the requester of exceptional need or unique circumstances and that the anticipated testimony will not be adverse to the interests of the United States, the General Counsel may, consistent with 5 CFR 2635.805, exercise his or her discretion to grant special, written authorization for CFPB employees, or former employees, to appear and testify as expert witnesses at no expense to the United States.

(d) If, despite the final determination of the General Counsel, a court of competent jurisdiction or other appropriate authority orders the appearance and expert or opinion testimony of a current or former CFPB employee, that person shall immediately inform the General Counsel of such order. If the General Counsel determines that no further legal review of or challenge to the court's order will be made, the CFPB employee, or former employee, shall comply with the order. If so directed by the General Counsel, however, the employee, or former employee, shall decline to testify.

7. Revise subpart E to read as follows:

Subpart E-Privacy Act

Sec. 1070.50 Purpose and scope; definitions.1070.51 Authority and responsibilities of the Chief Privacy Officer.1070.52 Fees.1070.53 Request for access to records.1070.54 CFPB procedures for responding to a request for access.1070.55 Special procedures for medical records.1070.56 Request for amendment of records.1070.57 CFPB review of a request for amendment of records.1070.58 Appeal of adverse determination of request for access or amendment.1070.59 Restrictions on disclosure.1070.60 Exempt records.1070.61 Training; rules of conduct; penalties for non-compliance.1070.62 Preservation of records.1070.63 Use and collection of Social Security numbers.

Subpart E-Privacy Act

§?1070.50 Purpose and scope; definitions.

(a) This subpart implements the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552a (the Privacy Act). The regulations apply to all records maintained by the CFPB and which are retrieved by an individual's name or personal identifier. The regulations set forth the procedures for requests for access to, or amendment of, records concerning individuals that are contained in systems of records maintained by the CFPB. These regulations should be read in conjunction with the Privacy Act, which provides additional information about this topic.

(b) For purposes of this subpart, the following definitions apply:

(1) The term Chief Privacy Officer means the Chief Information Officer of the CFPB or any CFPB employee to whom the Chief Information Officer has delegated authority to act under this part;

(2) The term guardian means the parent of a minor, or the legal guardian of any individual who has been declared to be incompetent due to physical or mental incapacity or age by a court of competent jurisdiction;

(3) Individual means a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence;

(4) Maintain includes maintain, collect, use, or disseminate;

(5) Record means any item, collection, or grouping of information about an individual that is maintained by an agency, including, but not limited to, his education, financial transactions, medical history, and criminal or employment history and that contains his name or the identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual, such as a finger or voiceprint or a photograph;

(6) Routine use means the disclosure of a record that is compatible with the purpose for which it was collected;

(7) System of records means a group of any records under the control of an agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual; and

(8) Statistical record means a record in a system of records maintained for statistical research or reporting purposes only and not used in whole or in part in making any determination about an identifiable individual, except as provided by 13 U.S.C. 8.


[top] page 46096 §?1070.51 Authority and responsibilities of the Chief Privacy Officer.

The Chief Privacy Officer is authorized to:

(a) Develop, implement, and maintain an organization-wide privacy program;

(b) Respond to requests for access to, accounting of, or amendment of records contained in a system of records maintained by the CFPB;

(c) Approve the publication of new systems of records and amend existing systems of record; and

(d) File any necessary reports related to the Privacy Act.

§?1070.52 Fees.

(a) Copies of records. The CFPB shall provide the requester with copies of records requested pursuant to §?1070.53 at the same cost charged for duplication of records under §?1070.22.

(b) No fee. The CFPB will not charge a fee if:

(1) Total charges associated with a request are less than $5; or

(2) The requester is a CFPB employee or former employee, or an applicant for employment with the CFPB, and the request pertains to that employee, former employee, or applicant.

§?1070.53 Request for access to records.

(a) Procedures for making a request for access to records. An individual's requests for access to records that pertain to that individual (or to the individual for whom the requester serves as guardian) may be submitted to the CFPB in writing as follows:

(1) If submitted by mail or delivery service, the request shall be labeled "Privacy Act Request" and shall be addressed to the Chief Privacy Officer, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20552.

(2) If submitted by electronic means, the request shall be labeled "Privacy Act Request" and the request shall be submitted as set forth at the CFPB's website, http://www.consumerfinance.gov.

(b) Content of a request for access to records. A request for access to records shall include:

(1) A statement that the request is made pursuant to the Privacy Act;

(2) The name of the system of records that the requester believes contains the record requested, or a description of the nature of the record sought in detail sufficient to enable CFPB personnel to locate the system of records containing the record with a reasonable amount of effort;

(3) Whenever possible, a description of the nature of the record sought, the date of the record or the period in which the requester believes that the record was created, and any other information that might assist the CFPB in identifying the record sought ( e.g., maiden name, dates of employment, account information, etc.);

(4) Information necessary to verify the requester's identity pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section; and

(5) The mailing or email address where the CFPB's response or further correspondence should be sent.

(c) Verification of identity. To obtain access to the CFPB's records pertaining to a requester, the requester shall provide proof to the CFPB of the requester's identity as provided in paragraphs (c)(1) and (2) of this section.

(1) In general, the following will be considered adequate proof of a requester's identity:

(i) A photocopy of two forms of identification, including one form of identification that bears the requester's photograph, and one form of identification that bears the requester's signature;

(ii) A photocopy of a single form of identification that bears both the requester's photograph and signature; or

(iii) A statement swearing or affirming the requester's identity and to the fact that the requester understands the penalties provided in 5 U.S.C. 552a(i)(3).

(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (c)(1) of this section, a designated official may require additional proof of the requester's identity before action will be taken on any request, if such official determines that it is necessary to protect against unauthorized disclosure of information in a particular case. In addition, if a requester seeks records pertaining to an individual in the requester's capacity as that individual's guardian, the requester shall be required to provide adequate proof of the requester's legal relationship before action will be taken on any request.

(d) Request for accounting of previous disclosures. An individual may request an accounting of previous disclosures of records pertaining to that individual in a system of records as provided in 5 U.S.C. 552a(c). Such requests should conform to the procedures and form for requests for access to records set forth in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.

§?1070.54 CFPB procedures for responding to a request for access.

(a) Acknowledgment and response. The CFPB will provide written acknowledgement of the receipt of a request within twenty (20) business days from the receipt of the request and will, where practicable, respond to each request within that twenty (20) day period. When a full response is not practicable within the twenty (20) day period, the CFPB will respond as promptly as possible.

(b) Disclosure. (1) When the CFPB discloses information in response to a request, the CFPB will make the information available for inspection and copying during regular business hours as provided in §?1070.13, or the CFPB will mail it or email it to the requester, if feasible, upon request.

(2) The requester may bring with him or her anyone whom the requester chooses to see the requested material. All visitors to the CFPB's buildings must comply with the applicable security procedures.

(c) Denial of a request. If the CFPB denies a request made pursuant to §?1070.53, it will inform the requester in writing of the reason(s) for denial and the procedures for appealing the denial.

§?1070.55 Special procedures for medical records.

If an individual requests medical or psychological records pursuant to §?1070.53, the CFPB will disclose them directly to the requester unless the CFPB determines that such disclosure could have an adverse effect on the requester. If the CFPB makes that determination, the CFPB shall provide the information to a licensed physician or other appropriate representative that the requester designates, who shall disclose those records to the requester in a manner he or she deems appropriate.

§?1070.56 Request for amendment of records.

(a) Procedures for making request. (1) If an individual wishes to amend a record that pertains to that individual in a system of records, that individual may submit a request in writing to the Chief Privacy Officer, as set forth in §?1070.53(a). The request shall be labeled "Privacy Act Amendment Request."

(2) A request for amendment of a record must:

(i) Identify the name of the system of records that the requester believes contains the record for which the amendment is requested, or a description of the nature of the record in detail sufficient to enable CFPB personnel to locate the system of records containing the record with a reasonable amount of effort;

(ii) Specify the portion of that record requested to be amended; and

(iii) Describe the nature and reasons for each requested amendment.


[top] (3) When making a request for amendment of a record, the CFPB will page 46097 require a requester to verify his or her identity under the procedures set forth in §?1070.53(c), unless the requester has already done so in a related request for access or amendment.

(b) Burden of proof. In a request for amendment of a record, the requester bears the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the record is not accurate, relevant, timely, or complete.

§?1070.57 CFPB review of a request for amendment of records.

(a) Time limits. The CFPB will acknowledge a request for amendment of records within ten (10) business days after it receives the request. In the acknowledgment, the CFPB may request additional information necessary for a determination on the request for amendment. The CFPB will make a determination on a request to amend a record promptly.

(b) Contents of response to a request for amendment. When the CFPB responds to a request for amendment, the CFPB will inform the requester in writing whether the request is granted or denied, in whole or in part. If the CFPB grants the request, it will take the necessary steps to amend the record and, when appropriate and possible, notify prior recipients of the record of its action. If the CFPB denies the request, in whole or in part, it will inform the requester in writing:

(1) Why the request (or portion of the request) was denied;

(2) That the requester has a right to appeal; and

(3) How to file an appeal.

§?1070.58 Appeal of adverse determination of request for access or amendment.

(a) Appeal. A requester may appeal a denial of a request made pursuant to §?1070.53 or §?1070.56 within ten (10) business days after the CFPB notifies the requester that it has denied the request.

(b) Content of appeal. A requester may submit an appeal in writing as set forth in §?1070.53(a). The appeal shall be addressed to the General Counsel and labeled "Privacy Act Appeal." The appeal must also:

(1) Specify the background of the request; and

(2) Provide reasons why the requester believes the denial is in error.

(c) Determination. The General Counsel will make a determination as to whether to grant or deny an appeal within thirty (30) business days from the date it is received, unless the General Counsel extends the time for good cause.

(1) If the General Counsel grants an appeal regarding a request for amendment, he or she will take the necessary steps to amend the record and, when appropriate and possible, notify prior recipients of the record of its action.

(2) If the General Counsel denies an appeal, he or she will inform the requester of such determination in writing, including the reasons for the denial, and the requester's right to file a statement of disagreement and to have a court review its decision.

(d) Statement of disagreement. (1) If the General Counsel denies an appeal regarding a request for amendment, a requester may file a concise statement of disagreement with the denial. The CFPB will maintain the requester's statement with the record that the requester sought to amend and any disclosure of the record will include a copy of the requester's statement of disagreement.

(2) When practicable and appropriate, the CFPB will provide a copy of the statement of disagreement to any prior recipients of the record.

§?1070.59 Restrictions on disclosure.

The CFPB will not disclose any record about an individual contained in a system of records to any person or agency without the prior written consent of that individual unless the disclosure is authorized by 5 U.S.C. 552a(b). Disclosures authorized by 5 U.S.C. 552a(b) include disclosures that are compatible with one or more routine uses that are contained within the CFPB's Systems of Records Notices, which are available on the CFPB's website, at http://www.consumerfinance.gov.

§?1070.60 Exempt records.

(a) Exempt systems of records. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(k)(2), the CFPB exempts the systems of records listed in paragraphs (a)(1) through (4) of this section from 5 U.S.C. 552a(c)(3), (d), (e)(1), (e)(4)(G)-(H), and (f), and §§?1070.53 through 1070.59, to the extent that such systems of records contain investigatory materials compiled for law enforcement purposes, provided, however, that if any individual is denied any right, privilege, or benefit to which he or she would otherwise be entitled under Federal law, or for which he or she would otherwise be eligible as a result of the maintenance of such material, such material shall be disclosed to such individual, except to the extent that the disclosure of such material would reveal the identity of a source who furnished information to the CFPB under an express promise that the identity of the source would be held in confidence:

(1) CFPB.002 Depository Institution Supervision Database.

(2) CFPB.003 Non-Depository Institution Supervision Database.

(3) CFPB.004 Enforcement Database.

(4) CFPB.005 Consumer Response System.

(b) Information compiled for civil actions or proceedings. This subpart does not permit an individual to have access to any information compiled in reasonable anticipation of a civil action or proceeding.

§?1070.61 Training; rules of conduct; penalties for non-compliance.

(a) Training. The Chief Privacy Officer shall institute a training program to instruct CFPB employees and contractor personnel covered by 5 U.S.C. 552a(m), who are involved in the design, development, operation, or maintenance of any CFPB system of records, on a continuing basis with respect to the duties and responsibilities imposed on them and the rights conferred on individuals by the Privacy Act, the regulations in this subpart, and any other related regulations. Such training shall provide suitable emphasis on the civil and criminal penalties imposed on the CFPB and the individual employees or contractor personnel by the Privacy Act for non-compliance with specified requirements of the Act as implemented by the regulations in this subpart.

(b) Rules of conduct. The following rules of conduct are applicable to employees of the CFPB (including, to the extent required by the contract or 5 U.S.C. 552a(m), Government contractors and employees of such contractors), who are involved in the design, development, operation or maintenance of any system of records, or in maintaining any records, for or on behalf of the CFPB.

(1) The head of each office of the CFPB shall be responsible for assuring that employees subject to such official's supervision are advised of the provisions of the Privacy Act, including the criminal penalties and civil liabilities provided therein, and the regulations in this subpart, and that such employees are made aware of their individual and collective responsibilities to protect the security of personal information, to assure its accuracy, relevance, timeliness and completeness, to avoid unauthorized disclosure either orally or in writing, and to ensure that no system of records is maintained without public notice.


[top] (2) Employees of the CFPB involved in the design, development, operation, or maintenance of any system of records, or in maintaining any record shall: page 46098

(i) Collect no information of a personal nature from individuals unless authorized to collect it to achieve a function or carry out a responsibility of the CFPB;

(ii) Collect information, to the extent practicable, directly from the individual to whom it relates;

(iii) Inform each individual asked to supply information, on the form used to collect the information or on a separate form that can be retained by the individual of-

(A) The authority (whether granted by statute, or by executive order of the President) which authorizes the solicitation of the information and whether disclosure of such information is mandatory or voluntary;

(B) The principal purpose or purposes for which the information is intended to be used;

(C) The routine uses which may be made of the information, as published pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(4)(D); and

(D) The effects on the individual, if any, of not providing all or any part of the requested information;

(iv) Not collect, maintain, use or disseminate information concerning an individual's religious or political beliefs or activities or membership in associations or organizations, unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained or unless pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity;

(v) Advise their supervisors of the existence or contemplated development of any record system which is capable of retrieving information about individuals by individual identifier;

(vi) Assure that no records maintained in a CFPB system of records are disseminated without the permission of the individual about whom the record pertains, except when authorized by 5 U.S.C. 552a(b);

(vii) Maintain and process information concerning individuals with care in order to ensure that no inadvertent disclosure of the information is made either within or without the CFPB;

(viii) Prior to disseminating any record about an individual to any person other than an agency, unless the dissemination is made pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(2), make reasonable efforts to assure that such records are accurate, complete, timely, and relevant for agency purposes; and

(ix) Assure that an accounting is kept in the prescribed form, of all dissemination of personal information outside the CFPB, whether made orally or in writing, unless disclosed under 5 U.S.C. 552 or subpart B of this part.

(3) The head of each office of the CFPB shall, at least annually, review the record systems subject to their supervision to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 and the regulations in this subpart.

§?1070.62 Preservation of records.

The CFPB will preserve all correspondence pertaining to the requests that it receives under this part, as well as copies of all requested records, until disposition or destruction is authorized by title 44 of the United States Code or the National Archives and Records Administration's General Records Schedule 14. Records will not be disposed of or destroyed while they are the subject of a pending request, appeal, proceeding, or lawsuit.

§?1070.63 Use and collection of Social Security numbers.

The CFPB will ensure that employees authorized to collect information are aware:

(a) That individuals may not be denied any right, benefit, or privilege as a result of refusing to provide their Social Security numbers, unless the collection is authorized either by a statute or by a regulation issued prior to 1975; and

(b) That individuals requested to provide their Social Security numbers must be informed of:

(1) Whether providing Social Security numbers is mandatory or voluntary;

(2) Any statutory or regulatory authority that authorizes the collection of Social Security numbers; and

(3) The uses that will be made of the numbers.

Dated: August 30, 2018.

Mick Mulvaney,

Acting Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

[FR Doc. 2018-19384 Filed 9-11-18; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4810-AM-P