Proposal aims to bring OCC FOIA regulations more in line with implementing statute

Procedures for expediting processing of information sought under requests by the public (including journalists), and other related issues, were proposed by the federal regulator of national banks, the agency said Monday.

In a bulletin Monday, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) said its proposal to amend its regulations on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) releases includes the expedited processing plus providing for appeals of denials of expedited processing and denials of fee waiver requests.

The proposal also removes the “competitive harm” standard for information provided to the government on an involuntary basis, and makes a conforming amendment pertaining to FOIA fee waivers.

The proposal was published Feb. 22, according to the OCC.

The agency indicated its proposal was issued to align its regulations with the FOIA statute. It said it found four instances where that is necessary.

Specifically, the agency said, the proposal would allow the public to request expedited processing, appeal denials of requests for expedited processing, and appeal denials of fee waivers. The proposal would also clarify that that OCC “must” grant a request for a fee waiver if the requester meets the waiver standard.

Finally, the proposal would remove the “competitive harm” standard for information provided to the government on an involuntary basis and update the definition of confidential commercial information to more closely follow FOIA.

Comments are due by April 22.

OCC Bulletin 2024-7: Freedom of Information Act: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to Amend Freedom of Information Act Regulations