12 CFR 510.5 - Release of unpublished OTS information.
(1) This section applies to requests by the public for unpublished OTS information, such as requests for records or testimony from parties to lawsuits in which the OTS is not a party.
(2) Unpublished OTS information includes records created or obtained in connection with the OTS's performance of its responsibilities, such as records concerning supervision, regulation, and examination of savings associations, their holding companies, and affiliates, and records compiled in connection with the OTS's enforcement responsibilities. Unpublished OTS information also includes information that current and former employees, officers, and agents obtained in their official capacities. Examples of unpublished information include:
(i) Information in the memory of a current or former employee, officer, or agent of the OTS (or the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the predecessor agency of the OTS), by testimony or informal interview, that was acquired in the course of performing official duties or because of the employee's, officer's or agent's official status;
(ii) Reports of examination, supervisory correspondence, internal agency memoranda and investigatory files compiled in connection with an investigation, whether such records are in the possession of the OTS or some other individual or entity; and
(iii) Unpublished OTS records obtained by or in the possession of third parties, including other government agencies.
(3) This section does not apply to:
(i) Requests for records or testimony in proceedings in which the OTS is a party;
(ii) Requests for information by other government agencies, except when specifically provided;
(iv) Requests for a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR), or any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR.
(b) Purpose. The purposes of this section are:
(1) To afford an orderly mechanism for the OTS to expeditiously process requests for unpublished OTS information and, where appropriate, for the OTS to assert evidentiary privileges in litigation;
(2) To balance the need for confidentiality of unpublished OTS information with the private party's interest in obtaining disclosure of that information;
(3) To ensure that the time of OTS employees is utilized in the most efficient manner consistent with the OTS's statutory mission;
(4) To prevent undue burdens on the OTS;
(5) To limit the expenditure of the OTS's funds for private purposes; and
(6) To maintain the impartiality of the OTS among private litigants.
(c) Procedure -
(1) Requests for records and testimony in general. A request for unpublished OTS information must be in writing, furnish the caption of the lawsuit if the request arises in the course of litigation, and support the requester's claim that the information sought is highly relevant to the purpose for which it is sought. In demonstrating that the information is highly relevant, the requester must explain in detail how the requested OTS information relates to the issues in the case or the matter.
(i) For requests arising in lawsuits, the submission also must include:
(A) A copy of the complaint or equivalent document in the case and any other pleadings necessary to show relevance;
(B) A description of any prior decisions or pending motions in the case that may bear on the asserted relevance of the information being sought from the OTS; and
(C) The names, addresses and phone numbers of counsel to all other parties in the case.
(ii) In all instances, in addition to demonstrating that the information sought is highly relevant to the purpose for which it is sought, the requester must:
(A) Demonstrate that the information sought is not available from any other source; and
(B) Demonstrate that the need for the information clearly outweighs the need to maintain the confidentiality of the OTS information and the burden on the OTS to produce the information.
(iii) If a request seeks a response in fewer than 30 days, it must include an explanation of why the requester was unable to submit the request earlier and why expediting the request is required.
(2) Additional provisions relating to requests for records. In addition to the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the provisions in paragraphs (c)(2)(i) and (c)(2)(ii) of this section apply to requests for disclosure of records.
(i) A request for records must list the categories of records sought and describe the specific information sought, including the relevant time period.
(ii) When the OTS believes that another person has a claim of privilege regarding the information in the records and the records are in the possession or control of that person, such as reports prepared by a savings association's attorneys that are shared with the OTS, the OTS may respond to the request by authorizing that person to release the records pursuant to an appropriate confidentiality order rather than by the OTS releasing the records directly to the requesting party. This will enable the person possessing or controlling the records to argue any issues of privilege to the appropriate court.
(3) Additional provisions relating to requests for testimony from OTS employees. In addition to the requirements of paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the provisions in paragraphs (c)(3)(i) through (c)(3)(iv) of this section apply to requests that current or former OTS employees be authorized to give testimony.
(i) The request must specifically describe the substance of the testimony sought and show a compelling need for the testimony. A showing of compelling need should include a demonstration that the requested information is not available from any other source, such as the books and records of other persons or entities, OTS records that have been or might be released, or the testimony of other non-OTS persons, including retained experts.
(ii) OTS employees will not be authorized to provide expert or opinion testimony for private parties.
(iii) The OTS expects litigants to anticipate their need for OTS testimony in sufficient time to request and obtain that testimony in deposition form. A request for testimony at a trial or hearing may not be granted unless the requester shows that properly developed deposition testimony could not be used or would not be adequate at the trial or hearing.
(iv) The OTS shall specify the scope of any authorized testimony and may take steps to ensure that the scope of testimony taken adheres to the scope authorized. Parties to the case who did not join in the request and who wish to question the witness beyond the authorized scope should request expanded authorization pursuant to this regulation. The OTS will attempt to render decisions on such requests in an expedited manner.
(4) Information available to savings associations, holding companies, state and Federal agencies and requesters.
(i) The regular report of examination of a savings association, savings and loan holding company, or other affiliate of a savings association is made available by the appropriate Regional Office to the entity examined.
(ii) A subsidiary savings association of a savings and loan holding company may reproduce and furnish a copy of its report of examination and related supervisory correspondence of the savings association to its parent holding company(ies) without prior approval of the OTS. A savings and loan holding company may reproduce and furnish a copy of its report of examination and related supervisory correspondence to another affiliated savings and loan holding company that controls the same savings association or its subsidiary savings association(s) without prior approval of the OTS. This paragraph does not require such disclosure by a parent savings and loan holding company or subsidiary savings association.
(iii) Reports of examination and other information relating to state-chartered savings associations and affiliates are made available, upon request, by the OTS to the state governmental authority having general supervision of such state-chartered savings associations.
(iv) Reports of examination and other information may be made available by the OTS to other agencies of the United States, a state agency, or to the Federal Home Loan Banks, for use where necessary in the performance of their official duties.
(v) All reports or other information made available to savings associations, holding companies, affiliates, other governmental agencies or requesters shall remain the property of the OTS and, except as permitted by this section or otherwise by the Director or his delegate, no person, company, agency, or authority to whom the information is made available, or any officer, director, employee or agent thereof, shall disclose any such information except published statistical material that would not disclose the identity of any individual or corporation.
(5) Where to submit requests. In all matters covered by this section, notification of the issuance of subpoenas or compulsory process and requests for records or testimony covered by this section must be sent to the OTS at 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552, to the attention of the Corporate Secretary, and should be labelled “Request for Release of Unpublished Information Under Section 510.5.” Requesters may furnish copies of the request or subpoenas simultaneously to the appropriate OTS Regional Office, but the furnishing of such copies does not constitute service on the OTS.
(d) Consideration of requests -
(1) In general. The OTS will generally process requests in the order in which they are received. The OTS will endeavor to respond to requests within 30 days, but this may vary depending on the scope and precision of the request. The OTS will weigh requests for processing in less than 30 days against the burden to the OTS of expedited processing and the unfairness to other parties whose pending requests may be delayed.
(2) Consultation with requester. The OTS may consult with the requester to:
(i) Refine and limit the scope of the request so as to reduce the burden and expense on the OTS; or
(ii) Obtain additional information necessary for the OTS to make an informed determination on the request. To the extent necessary to reach an informed determination on the request, the OTS may inquire into the circumstances of the underlying matter and rely on sources of information beyond the requester, including other interested parties.
(3) Final determinations. Final determinations on requests will be made by the Director or his delegate. All such determinations are the sole discretion of the Director or his delegate. Requesters will be notified in writing of the disposition of the request.
(4) Denial of requests.
(i) The OTS may deny requests for records or testimony that seek information that the OTS deems to be:
(A) Not highly relevant;
(C) Available from other sources;
(D) Information that should not be disclosed for reasons that warrant restriction of discovery under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (28 U.S.C. appendix); and
(E) Information that should not be disclosed, because such disclosure is prohibited by law.
(ii) The OTS may also deny a records or testimony request when it considers production of the information to be overly burdensome or contrary to the public interest, or where OTS determines that the need for the information does not clearly outweigh the need to maintain the confidentiality of the information, or where the requester seeks testimony and has not shown a compelling need for the testimony.
(5) Confidentiality Orders and Agreements. As is set forth in paragraph (f) of this section, the OTS may condition release of information on the entry by the relevant tribunal of an order satisfactory to the OTS or, in a non-litigated matter, the execution of a confidentiality agreement that limits access of third parties to the unpublished OTS information. It shall be the duty of the requesting party to obtain such an order or to execute a confidentiality agreement.
(e) Parties with access to OTS information; restriction on dissemination -
(1) Current and former employees. Except as authorized by this section or as otherwise authorized by the Director or his delegate, no current or former employee, officer or agent of the OTS or a predecessor agency shall disclose or permit the disclosure of any unpublished information of the OTS to anyone (other than an employee, officer or agent of the OTS properly entitled to such information for the performance of their official duties), whether by giving out or furnishing such information or a copy thereof or by allowing any person to inspect, examine, or copy such information or copy thereof, or otherwise.
(2) Duty of person served. If any person, whether or not a current or former employee, officer or agent of the OTS, has information of the OTS that may not be disclosed under the regulations of the OTS or other applicable law, and in connection therewith is served with a subpoena, order, or other process requiring personal attendance as a witness or production of records or information in any proceeding, that person shall promptly advise the OTS of such service or request for information. Upon such notice the OTS will take appropriate action to advise 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 this section. Such notice to the OTS shall be made by contacting the Litigation Division, Office of Chief Counsel, Office of Thrift Supervision, 1700 G Street NW., Washington, DC 20552. As provided in paragraph (e)(3) of this section, a person so served with process may not disclose OTS information without OTS authorization. To obtain OTS authorization, a request must be sent to the OTS in Washington, DC, in accordance with paragraph (c) of this section.
(3) Appearance by person served. Except as the OTS has authorized disclosure of the relevant information, or except as authorized by law, any person who has information of the OTS that may not be disclosed under this section and is required to respond to a subpoena or other legal process shall attend at the time and place therein mentioned and respectfully decline to produce such records or give any testimony with respect thereto, basing such refusal on this part. If, notwithstanding, the court or other body orders the disclosure of such records or the giving of such testimony, the person having such information of the OTS shall continue respectfully to decline to produce such information and shall promptly advise the Litigation Division of the Chief Counsel's Office, Office of Thrift Supervision. Upon such notice the OTS will take appropriate action to advise the court or tribunal which issued the order, of the substance of this section.
(4) Non-waiver of privilege. The possession by any entity or individual described in paragraph (c)(4) of this section of OTS records covered by this section shall not waive any privilege of the OTS or the OTS's right to supervise the further dissemination of these records.
(f) Orders and agreements protecting the confidentiality of unpublished OTS information -
(1) Records. Unless otherwise permitted by the OTS, release of records authorized pursuant to this section will be conditioned by the OTS upon entry of an acceptable protective order by the court or administrative tribunal presiding in the particular case, or, in non-litigated matters, upon execution of an acceptable confidentiality agreement. In cases where protective orders have already been entered, the OTS reserves the right to condition approval for release of information upon the inclusion of additional or amended provisions.
(2) Testimony. The OTS may condition its authorization of deposition testimony on an agreement of the parties that the transcript of the testimony will be kept under seal, or will be made available only to the parties, the court and the jury, except to the extent that the OTS may allow use of the transcript in related litigation. The party who requested the testimony shall, at its expense, furnish to the OTS a copy of the transcript of testimony of the OTS employee or former employee.
(g) Limitation of burden on the OTS in connection with released records -
(1) Authentication for use as evidence. The OTS will authenticate released records to facilitate their use as evidence. Requesters who require authenticated records should request certified copies at least 30 days prior to the date they will be needed. The request should be sent to the OTS Public Disclosure Branch and shall identify the records, giving the office or record depository where they are located (if known) and include copies of the records and payment of the certification fee.
(2) Responsibility of litigants to share released records. The party who has sought and obtained OTS records has the responsibility of:
(i) Notifying other parties to the case of the release and, after entry of a protective order, providing copies of the records to the other parties who are subject to the protective order; and
(ii) Retrieving any records from the court's file as soon as the records are no longer required by the court and returning them to the OTS. Where a party may be involved in related litigation, the OTS may, upon a request made to it pursuant to this section, authorize such party to transfer the records for use in that related case.
(h) Fees -
(1) Fees for records searches, copying and certifications. Requesters shall be charged fees in accordance with Treasury Department regulations, 31 CFR 1.7. With certain exceptions, the regulations in 31 CFR 1.7 provide for recovery of the full direct costs of searching, reviewing, certifying and duplicating the records sought. An estimate of the statement of charges will be sent to requesters, and fees shall be remitted by check payable to the OTS prior to release of the requested records. Where it deems appropriate, the OTS may contract with commercial copying concerns to copy the records, with the cost billed to the requester.
(2) Witness fees and allowances.
(i) Litigants whose requests for testimony of current OTS employees are approved shall, upon completion of the testimonial appearance, promptly tender a check payable to the OTS for witness fees and allowances in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1821.
(ii) All litigants whose requests for testimony of former OTS employees are approved, shall also promptly tender witness fees and allowances to the witness in accordance with 28 U.S.C. 1821.