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F ederal

reserve

Ba n k

DALLAS, TEX AS

of

Dallas

7S222

Circular No. 70-300
December 15, 1970

REPRINT OF
RULES REGARDING AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION

To All Member Banks and Others Concerned
in the Eleventh Federal Reserve District:

Enclosed is the new larger size reprint of
Rules Regarding Availability of Information,, as amended
effective July k, 19&7*

No amendments to the Rules

have been issued subsequent to July k, 1967*
The small size Rules Regarding Availability
of Information should be destroyed.
Yours very truly,
P. E. Coldwell
President
Enclosure (l)

This publication was digitized and made available by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Historical Library (FedHistory@dal.frb.org)

BOARD OF GOVERNORS
of the
FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM

RULES REGARDING AVAILABILITY OF INFORMATION

(12 CFR 261)

As amended effective July 4, 1967

Any inquiry relating to these rules should be addressed to the Federal
Reserve Bank of the Federal Reserve district in which the inquiry arises.

CONTENTS

Page
Sec. 261.1 —

B a s is

and

S c o p e ............................. 3

Sec. 261.2 — D e f i n i t i o n s .............................................. 3
(a ) “Information of the Board” .................... 3
(b) “Records of the Board” ........................... 3
261.3 — P u b l i s h e d I n f o r m a t i o n .................
(a ) Federal R e g is te r........................................
(b) Annual Report ..........................................
(c) Federal Reserve B u lle tin ........................
(d) Other published in fo rm a tio n ..................
(e ) Obtaining published in fo rm a tio n

Sec .

Sec.

261.4 —

R

eco rd s

A

(c )
(d)

the

P ub­

4
General rule .............................................. 4
Opinions, orders, statements of policy,
interpretations, and staff manuals and
instructions ............................................ 4
Other records ............................................ 4
Obtaining access to r e c o r d s .................... 4
l ic u p o n

(a)
(b)

v a il a b l e t o

3
3
3
4
4
4

R

eq u est

..........................

Page
Sec.

261.5 —

D

eferm ent

of

A v a il a b il it y

of

C ertain I nformation ........... 5
(a ) Deferment of availab ility ........................ 5
(b) Reasons for deferment of availability . . 5
Sec . 261.6— E xemptions from D isclosure . .
(a) General rule ..............................................
(b) Information available to supervised in­
stitutions and other Government agen­
cies ............................................................
(c ) Prohibition against disclosu re..................

5
5

6
6

(d) Appeal from denial of access to informa­
tion ......................................................... 6
S ec . 261.7— Subpoenas ...................................... 6
(a) Advice by person s e r v e d ........................ 6
(b) Appearance by person s e rv e d
7
Statutory A p p e n d i x .......................................... 7

RULES REGARDING AVAILABILITY OF IN FO R M A TIO N *
(12 CFR 261)
As

amended effective July 4, 1967

(2) statements of the general course and method
by which its functions are channeled and deter­
This Part is issued by the Board of Governors
mined, including the nature and requirements of
of the Federal Reserve System (the “Board”) pur­
all formal and informal procedures available;
suant to the requirement of section 552 of Title 5
(3) rules of procedure, descriptions of forms
of the United States Code that every Federal
available or the places at which forms may be
agency shall publish in the Federal Register, for
obtained, and instructions as to the scope and con­
the guidance of the public, descriptions of the es­
tents of all papers, reports, or examinations;
tablished places at which, the officers from whom,
(4) substantive rules of general applicability
and the methods whereby, the public may obtain
adopted
as authorized by law, and statements of
information, make submittals or requests, or ob­
general
policy
or interpretations of general appli­
tain decisions.
cability formulated and adopted by the Board;
(5) every amendment, revision, or repeal of the
SECTION 261.2— DEFINITIONS
foregoing; and
(a) “Information of the Board”. For purposes
(6) general notices of proposed rule making.
of this Part, the term “information of the Board”
The
Board also publishes in the Federal Register
means all information coming into the possession
notice
of receipt of applications pursuant to the
of the Board or of any member thereof, or of any
Bank
Holding
Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C.
Federal Reserve Bank, or of any officer, employee,
1842),
orders
and
supporting statements issued by
or agent of the Board or of any Federal Reserve
the Board with respect to such applications and
Bank, in the performance of functions for or on
applications under the Bank Merger Act (12
behalf of the Board, including functions delegated
U.S.C. 1828(c)), and notices of formal hearings
by the Board pursuant to Part 265 of this chapter.
ordered
by the Board.
(b) “Records of the Board”. For purposes of
(b)
Annual Report. The Board’s Annual Re­
this Part, the term “records of the Board” means
port to Congress pursuant to section 10 of the
rules, statements, opinions, orders, memoranda,
Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 247), which is
letters, reports, accounts, and other papers con­
made public immediately after its submission to
taining information of the Board that constitute
Congress, contains a full account of the Board’s
part of the Board’s official files.
operations during the year, an economic review
of the year, and legislative recommendations to
SECTION 261.3— PUBLISHED
Congress. As required by law, the Annual Report
INFORM ATION
includes (1) a complete record of the policy ac­
(a)
Federal Register. To the extent required by tions taken by the Board and the Federal Open
sections 552 and 553 of Title 5 of the United
Market Committee, showing the votes taken
States Code, and subject to the provisions of §§
thereon and the reasons underlying such actions
261.5 and 261.6, the Board publishes in the Fed­
(12 U.S.C. 247a); (2) material pertaining to the
eral Register for the guidance of the public, in
administration of the Board’s functions under the
addition to this Part,
Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 (12 U.S.C.
(1)
descriptions of its central and field organi­
1844); and (3) material pertaining to bank mergers
zation;
approved by the Board under section 18(c) of the
* T h e text corresponds to the C o d e of F ederal R egula­
Federal Deposit Insurance Act (12 U.S.C. 1828
tions, T itle 12, C h a p te r II, P a rt 261, cited as 12 C F R 261.
(c)).
T h e w ords “this Part”, as used herein, m ean these rules.
SECTION 261.1— BASIS AND SCOPE

§§ 261.3— 261.4

(c)-federal Reserve Bulletin. In the Federal Re­
serve Bulletin, which is issued monthly, the Board
publishes economic and statistical information;
special articles on subjects of economic interest;
regulations, statements of general policy, and in­
terpretations of laws and regulations of general
interest to the public; notices of actions by the
Board on certain types of applications, such as
applications for membership in the Federal Re­
serve System; and orders and accompanying state­
ments of the Board with respect to certain types
of adjudications. Some material that is published
in the Bulletin is released in advance of such pub­
lication, examples being certain regulations, inter­
pretations, orders and opinions, a monthly sum­
mary of business conditions, the Board’s index of
industrial production, and certain other statistical
series.
(d) Other published information. As required
by section 11(a) of the Federal Reserve Act (12
U.S.C. 248(a)), the Board issues weekly (1) a
statement of the condition of the Federal Reserve
Banks; (2) a statement listing certain applications
received by or on behalf of the Board and actions
on such applications by the Board, or on behalf
of the Board pursuant to authority delegated under
Part 265 of this chapter; and (3) a statement show­
ing changes in the banking structure resulting from
mergers and the establishment of branches. From
time to time, the Board issues statements to the
press regarding particular monetary and credit
actions, regulatory actions, actions with respect to
certain types of applications, and other matters.
In addition, it issues various publications, the more
important of which are listed in the monthly Fed­
eral Reserve Bulletin. Among such publications
is a loose-leaf compilation of Interpretations o f the
Board o f Governors o f the Federal Reserve
System.
(e) Obtaining published information. Anyone
may subscribe to the Federal Reserve Bulletin at
the rate therein indicated. A copy of each issue
of the Bulletin is sent without charge to each mem­
ber bank. Current or back issues of the Bulletin,
Annual Reports, rules, regulations, and certain
other published information may be examined at
the offices of the Board or any Federal Reserve
Bank, and copies, if in stock, are supplied by the
Board at prescribed charges or at no cost.

RULES REGARDING INFORMATION

SECTION 261.4— RECORDS AVAILABLE
TO TH E PUBLIC UPON REQUEST
(a) General rule. All records of the Board,
whether or not published under § 261.3, are made
available to any person, upon request, for inspec­
tion and copying in accordance with the provisions
of this section and subject to the limitations stated
in §§ 261.5 and 261.6. Records falling within the
exemptions from disclosure set forth in section
552(b) of Title 5 of the United States Code and in
§ 261.6 may nevertheless be made available in ac­
cordance with this action to the fullest extent con­
sistent, in the Board’s judgment, with the effective
performance of the Board’s statutory responsibili­
ties and with the avoidance of injury to a public
or private interest intended to be protected by such
exemptions.
(b) Opinions, orders, statements of policy, in­
terpretations, and staff manuals and instructions.
Subject to the provisions of §§ 261.5 and 261.6,
the Board makes available for inspection and copy­
ing (1) all final opinions (including concurring and
dissenting opinions) and orders made in the ad­
judication of cases, including such opinions and
orders made pursuant to authority delegated by
the Board under Part 265 of this chapter; (2) state­
ments of policy and interpretations adopted by
the Board that are not published in the Federal
Register; and (3) administrative staff manuals and
instructions to staff that affect any member of the
public. However, to the extent required to prevent
a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal pri­
vacy, the Board deletes identifying details in any
material of the kinds above described; and in each
such case the justification for such deletion is ex­
plained in writing. The Board maintains and
makes available for public inspection and copying
a current index providing identifying information
for the public as to any material described in this
paragraph which is issued, adopted, or promul­
gated after July 4, 1967.
(c) Other records. Subject to the provisions of
§§ 261.5 and 261.6, records of the Board not
covered by paragraph (b) of this section, includ­
ing a record of the final votes of members of the
Board in any Board proceeding, are made avail­
able for inspection and copying to any person
upon request.
(d) Obtaining access to records. Records of the
Board subject to this section are available for in­
spection and copying during regular business hours

RULES REGARDING INFORMATION

at the offices of the Board of Governors of the
Federal Reserve System, Federal Reserve Build­
ing, 20th and Constitution Avenue, Washington,
D. C. 20551, or, in the case of records containing
information required to be disclosed under sec­
tion 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as
amended (15 U.S.C. 78), at the offices of the Fed­
eral Deposit Insurance Corporation or at any
Federal Reserve Bank. Every request for access
to records of the Board, other than those contain­
ing information required under section 12 of the
Securities Exchange Act, shall be submitted in
writing to the Secretary of the Board, shall state
the name and address of the person requesting
access to such records, and shall describe such
records in a manner reasonably sufficient to per­
mit their identification without undue difficulty;
and such person shall pay a fee in an amount
based upon $5 per hour for the time required to
locate such records and prepare them for inspec­
tion, plus 10 cents per standard page for any copy­
ing thereof.
SECTION 261.5— D EFERM EN T OF
AVAILABILITY OF
CERTAIN INFORM ATION
(a) Deferment of availability. In some instan­
ces, certain types of information of the Board are
not published in the Federal Register or made
available for inspection and copying until after
such period of time as the Board may determine
to be reasonably necessary to avoid the effects
described in paragraph (b) of this section. For
example, such deferment of publication or availa­
bility of information to the public may occasion­
ally be necessary with respect to information relat­
ing to the determination of monetary or credit
policies, including but not limited to discount
rates, reserve requirements of member banks,
maximum interest rates payable by member banks
on deposits, and margin requirements.
(b) Reasons for deferment of availability. Pub­
lication of, or public access to, certain information
of the Board may be deferred because earlier dis­
closure of such information would
(1) interfere with the accomplishment of the
objectives of the Board’s actions in the discharge
of its statutory functions;
(2) permit speculators and others to gain unfair
profits or other unfair advantages by speculative
trading in securities or otherwise;

§§ 261.4— 261.6

(3) interfere with the orderly execution of the
objectives or policies of other Government
agencies;
(4) result in unnecessary or unwarranted dis­
turbances in the securities markets; or
(5) interfere with the orderly conduct of the
foreign affairs of the United States.
SECTION 261.6— EXEM PTIONS FROM
DISCLOSURE
(a)
General rule. Except as otherwise provided
in this Part or as may be specifically authorized
by the Board, information in the records of the
Board that is not available to the public through
other sources will not be published in the Federal
Register or made available for inspection and
copying if such information
(1) is exempted from disclosure by statute or
executive order;
(2) is contained in or related to examination,
operating, or condition reports prepared by, on
behalf of, or for the use of, the Board or a Fed­
eral Reserve Bank, relating to the affairs of any
bank or affiliate thereof, bank holding company
or subsidiary thereof, broker, finance company,
or any other person engaged, or proposing to en­
gage, in the business of banking, extending credit,
or managing or controlling banks;
(3) is privileged or relates to the business, per­
sonal, or financial affairs of any person and is
furnished in confidence; Provided, however, That,
following notice to the person furnishing such in­
formation, the Board may make any information
furnished in confidence in connection with an ap­
plication for Board approval of any transaction
available to the public in accordance with § 261.4
(c), and, to the extent it deems necessary and
without prior notice to such person, the Board
may comment on such information in any opinion
or statement issued to the public in connection
with a decision of the Board with respect to which
such information is relevant;
(4) is contained in. investigatory files compiled
for law enforcement purposes (except to the ex­
tent available by law to a private party), including
information relating to proceedings for (i) the is­
suance of a cease-and-desist order, or order of
suspension or removal, under the Financial In­
stitutions Supervisory Act of 1966; (ii) the ter­
mination of membership of a State bank in the
Federal Reserve System pursuant to section 9 of

§§ 261.6— 261.7

the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C. 327); (iii) the
suspension of a bank from use of the credit facili­
ties of the Federal Reserve System pursuant to
section 4 of the Federal Reserve Act (12 U.S.C.
301); and (iv) the granting or revocation of any
approval, permission, or authority, except to the
extent provided in this Part and except as pro­
vided in Part 262 of this chapter concerning bank
holding company and bank merger applications;
(5) relates solely to the internal personnel rules
and practices or other internal practices of the
Board;
(6) is contained in personnel, medical, and simi­
lar files, the disclosure of which would constitute
a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal pri­
vacy; or
(7) is contained in inter-agency or intra-agency
memoranda or letters that would not be routinely
available by law to a private party in litigation
with the Board, including but not limited to mem­
oranda, reports, and other documents prepared
by the staffs of the Board or of the Federal Re­
serve Banks, and records of deliberations and dis­
cussions at meetings of the Board or of any com­
mittee of the Board or of the Board’s staff.
(b)
Information available to supervised institu­
tions and other Government agencies. A copy of
each report of examination of each State member
bank and of each bank holding company is made
available by the appropriate Federal Reserve Bank
to the bank or company examined. Such reports
and other appropriate information relating to such
a bank or company are made available, upon re­
quest, by the Director of the Board’s Division of
Supervision and Regulation to the Comptroller of
the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation, and by the appropriate Federal Re­
serve Bank to the Regional Comptroller of the
Currency, the regional representative of the Fed­
eral Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the State
governmental authority having general supervision
of such bank or company. Such reports and other
information may be made available by the Board
to other agencies of the United States for use
where necessary in the performance of their of­
ficial duties. All reports or other information made
available pursuant to this paragraph shall remain
the property of the Board and, except as otherwise
provided in this Part, no person, agency, or au­
thority to whom the information is made available,
or any officer, director, or employee thereof, shall

RULES REGARDING INFORMATION

disclose any such information except in published
statistical material that does not disclose the af­
fairs of any individual or corporation.
(c) Prohibition against disclosure. Except as
provided in this Part, no officer, employee, or
agent of the Board or of any Federal Reserve
Bank shall disclose or permit the disclosure of any
unpublished information of the Board to anyone
(other than an officer, employee, or agent of the
Board or of a Federal Reserve Bank properly en­
titled to such information for the performance of
his official duties), whether by giving out or fur­
nishing such information or a copy thereof or by
allowing any person to inspect or copy such in­
formation or copy thereof, or otherwise. Notwith­
standing the foregoing, unpublished economic,
statistical, or similar information or unpublished
information regarding interpretations by the Board
of statutory or regulatory provisions may be dis­
closed, orally or in writing, by any officer, em­
ployee, or agent of the Board or of any Federal
Reserve Bank who has knowledge of the subject
matter to any person who, in the judgment of such
officer, employee, or agent, has a proper interest
therein, subject, however, to the restrictions stated
in § 261.5 and this § 261.6.
(d) Appeal from denial of access to Informa­
tion. Any person who is denied access to records
of the Board may, within 5 days thereafter, file
with the Board a written request for review of
such action; and such review shall not be subject
to the procedure prescribed in § 265.3 of this
chapter with respect to review of actions taken
pursuant to authority delegated by the Board.
SECTION 261.7— SUBPOENAS
(a)
Advice by person served. If any person,
whether or not an officer, employee, or agent of
the Board or of a Federal Reserve Bank, has in­
formation of the Board that may not be disclosed
under this Part and in connection therewith is
served with a subpoena, order, or other process
requiring his personal attendance as a witness or
the production of documents or information in
any proceeding, he should promptly inform the
Secretary of the Board of such service and of all
relevant facts, including the documents and infor­
mation requested and any facts which may be of
assistance to the Board in determining whether
such documents or information should be made

RULES REGARDING INFORMATION

STATUTORY APPENDIX

available; and he should take action at the ap­
propriate time to inform the court or tribunal that
issued the process and the attorney for the party
at whose instance the process was issued, if
known, of the substance of these rules.
(b)
Appearance by person served. Unless the
Board has authorized disclosure of the relevant
information, or except as provided in 18 U.S.C.
1906, any person having information of the Board
that may not be disclosed under this Part who is
required to respond to a subpoena or other legal

process shall attend at the time and place therein
mentioned and decline to disclose such informa­
tion or give any testimony with respect thereto,
basing his refusal upon this Part. If the court or
other body orders the disclosure of such informa­
tion or the giving of such testimony, the person
having such information of the Board shall con­
tinue to decline to disclose such information and
shall promptly report the facts to the Board for
such action as the Board may deem appropriate.

STATUTORY APPENDIX

Section 552, Title 5, United States Code, pro­
vides as follows:
§ 552. Public information; agency rules, opinions,
orders, records, and proceedings
(a)
Each agency shall make available to the
public information as follows:
(1)
Each agency shall separately state and cur­
rently publish in the Federal Register for the guid­
ance of the public—
(A) descriptions of its central and field or­
ganization and the established places at which,
the employees (and in the case of a uniformed
service, the members) from whom, and the
methods whereby, the public may obtain in­
formation, make submittals or requests, or ob­
tain decisions;
(B) statements of the general course and
method by which its functions are channeled
and determined, including the nature and re­
quirements of all formal and informal proced­
ures available;
7

(C) 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;
(D) 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
agency; and
(E) each amendment, revision, or repeal of
the foregoing.
Except to the extent that a person has actual and
timely notice of the terms thereof, a person may
not in any manner be required to resort to, or be
adversely affected by, a matter required to be pub­
lished in the Federal Register and not so pub­
lished. For the purpose of this paragraph, matter
reasonably available to the class of persons af­
fected thereby is deemed published in the Federal
Register when incorporated by reference therein
with the approval of the Director of the Federal
Register.

STATUTORY APPENDIX

(2) Each agency, in accordance with published
rules, shall make available for public inspection
and copying—
(A) final opinions, including concurring and
dissenting opinions, as well as orders, made in
the adjudication of cases;
(B) those statements of policy and interpre­
tations which have been adopted by the agency
and are not published in the Federal Register;
and
(C) administrative staff manuals and instruc­
tions to staff that affect a member of the public;
unless the materials are promptly published and
copies offered for sale. To the extent required to
prevent a clearly unwarranted invasion of per­
sonal privacy, an agency may delete identifying
details when it makes available or publishes an
opinion, statement of policy, interpretation, or
staff manual or instruction. However, in each
case the justification for the deletion shall be ex­
plained fully in writing. Each agency also shall
maintain and make available for public inspection
and copying a current index providing identifying
information for the public as to any matter issued,
adopted, or promulgated after July 4, 1967, and
required by this paragraph to be made available
or published. A final order, opinion, statement of
policy, interpretation, or staff manual or instruc­
tion that affects a member of the public may be
relied on, used, or cited as precedent by an agency
against a party other than an agency only if—
(i) it has been indexed and either made
available or published as provided by this para­
graph; or
(ii) the party has actual and timely notice of
the terms thereof.
(3) Except with respect to the records made
available under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this
subsection, each agency, on request for identifi­
able records made in accordance with published
rules stating the time, place, fees to the extent
authorized by statute, and procedure to be fol­
lowed, shall make the records promptly available
to any person. On complaint, the district court
of the United States in the district in which the
complainant resides, or has his principal place of
business, or in which the agency records are situ­
ated, has jurisdiction to enjoin the agency from
withholding agency records and to order the pro­
duction of any agency records improperly withheld
from the complainant. In such a case the court

RULES REGARDING INFORMATION

shall determine the matter de novo and the burden
is on the agency to sustain its action. In the event
of noncompliance with the order of the court, the
district court may punish for contempt the re­
sponsible employee, and in the case of a uni­
formed service, the responsible member. Except
as to causes the court considers of greater im­
portance, proceedings before the district court, as
authorized by this paragraph, take precedence on
the docket over all other causes and shall be as­
signed for hearing and trial at the earliest prac­
ticable date and expedited in every way.
(4)
Each agency having more than one mem­
ber shall maintain and make available for public
inspection a record of the final votes of each mem­
ber in every agency proceeding.
(b) This section does not apply to matters that
are—
(1) specifically required by Executive order
to be kept secret in the interest of the national
defense or foreign policy;
(2) related solely to the internal personnel
rules and practices of an agency;
(3) specifically exempted from disclosure by
statute;
(4) trade secrets and commercial or financial
information obtained from a person and privi­
leged or confidential;
(5) inter-agency or intra-agency memoran­
dums or letters which would not be available
by law to a party other than an agency in liti­
gation with the agency;
(6) personnel and medical files and similar
files the disclosure of which would constitute a
clearly unwarranted invasion of personal pri­
vacy;
(7) investigatory files compiled for law en­
forcement purposes except to the extent avail­
able by law to a party other than an agency;
(8) contained in or related to examination,
operating, or condition reports prepared by, on
behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsi­
ble for the regulation or supervision of financial
institutions; or
(9) geological and geophysical information
and data, including maps, concerning wells.
(c) This section does not authorize withholding
of information or limit the availability of records
to the public, except as specifically stated in this
section. This section is not authority to withhold
information from Congress.