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Title 12

Displaying title 12, up to date as of 9/24/2021. Title 12 was last amended 9/13/2021.

Title 12

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§ 4.16 Predisclosure notice for confidential commercial information.

(a) Definitions. For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) Confidential commercial information means records that arguably contain material exempt from release under Exemption 4 of the FOIA (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4); § 4.12(b)(4)), because disclosure reasonably could cause substantial competitive harm to the submitter.

(2) Submitter means any person or entity that provides confidential commercial information to the OCC. This term includes corporations, State governments, foreign governments, and banks and their employees, officers, directors, and principal shareholders.

(b) Notice to submitter -

(1) When provided. In accordance with Executive Order 12600 (3 CFR, 1987 Comp., p. 235), when the OCC receives a request under § 4.15(c) or, where appropriate, an appeal under § 4.15(d) for disclosure of confidential commercial information, the OCC provides a submitter with prompt written notice of the receipt of that request (except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section) in the following circumstances:

(i) With respect to confidential commercial information submitted to the OCC or to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the predecessor of the OTS, prior to January 1, 1988, if:

(A) The records are less than 10 years old and the submitter designated the information as confidential commercial information;

(B) The OCC reasonably believes that disclosure of the information may cause substantial competitive harm to the submitter; or

(C) The information is subject to a prior express commitment of confidentiality from the OCC or the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the predecessor of the OTS; and

(ii) With respect to confidential commercial information submitted to the OCC or to the OTS (or the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, its predecessor agency) on or after January 1, 1988, if:

(A) The submitter in good faith designated the information as confidential commercial information;

(B) The OCC or the OTS (or the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, its predecessor agency) designated the class of information to which the requested information belongs as confidential commercial information; or

(C) The OCC reasonably believes that disclosure of the information may cause substantial competitive harm to the submitter.

(2) Exceptions. The OCC generally does not provide notice under paragraph (b)(1) of this section if the OCC determines that:

(i) It will not disclose the information;

(ii) The information already has been disclosed officially to the public;

(iii) The OCC is required by law (other than 5 U.S.C. 552) to disclose the information;

(iv) The OCC or the OTS (or the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, its predecessor agency) acquired the information in the course of a lawful investigation of a possible violation of criminal law;

(v) The submitter had an opportunity to designate the requested information as confidential commercial information at the time of submission of the information or a reasonable time thereafter and did not do so, unless the OCC has substantial reason to believe that disclosure of the information would result in competitive harm; or

(vi) The OCC determines that the submitter's designation under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A) of this section is frivolous; in such case, however, the OCC will provide the submitter with written notice of any final administrative determination to disclose the information at least 10 business days prior to the date that the OCC intends to disclose the information.

(3) Content of notice. The OCC either describes in the notice the exact nature of the confidential commercial information requested or includes with the notice copies of the records or portions of records containing that information.

(4) Expiration of notice period. The OCC provides notice under this paragraph (b) with respect to information that the submitter designated under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A) of this section only for a period of 10 years after the date of the submitter's designation, unless the submitter requests and justifies to the OCC's satisfaction a specific notice period of greater duration.

(5) Certification of confidentiality. If possible, the submitter should support the claim of confidentiality with a statement or certification that the requested information is confidential commercial information that the submitter has not disclosed to the public. This statement should be prepared by an officer or authorized representative if the submitter is a corporation or other entity.

(c) Notice to requester. If the OCC provides notice to a submitter under paragraph (b) of this section, the OCC notifies the person requesting confidential commercial information (requester) that it has provided notice to the submitter. The OCC also advises the requester that if there is a delay in its decision whether to grant or deny access to the information sought, the delay may be considered a denial of access to the information, and that the requester may proceed with an administrative appeal or seek judicial review. However, the requester may agree to a voluntary extension of time to allow the OCC to review the submitter's objection to disclosure (see § 4.15(f)(3)(ii)).

(d) Opportunity to object to disclosure. Within 10 days after receiving notice under paragraph (b) of this section, the submitter may provide the OCC with a detailed statement of objection to disclosure of the information. That statement must specify the grounds for withholding any of the information under any exemption of the FOIA. Any statement that the submitter provides under this paragraph (d) may be subject to disclosure under the FOIA.

(e) Notice of intent to disclose. The OCC considers carefully a submitter's objection and specific grounds for nondisclosure prior to determining whether to disclose the requested information. If the OCC decides to disclose information over the objection of the submitter, the OCC provides to the submitter, with a copy to the requester, a written notice that includes:

(1) A statement of the OCC's reasons for not sustaining the submitter's objections to disclosure;

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

(3) The anticipated disclosure date, which is not less than 10 business days after the OCC mails the written notice required under this paragraph (e); and

(4) A statement that the submitter must notify the OCC immediately if the submitter intends to seek injunctive relief.

(f) Notice of requester's lawsuit. Whenever the OCC receives service of process indicating that a requester has brought suit seeking to compel the OCC to disclose information covered by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, the OCC promptly notifies the submitter.

[60 FR 57322, Nov. 15, 1995, as amended at 76 FR 43561, July 21, 2011]