Inner City Press' Community Reinvestment Reporter

  

     Welcome to Inner City Press’ CRA Report.  Our other Reporters cover the financial services industry, human rights, the Federal Reserve, and other beats.  ICP has published a book about the CRA-relevant topic of predatory lending - click here for sample chapters, a map, and ordering informationCBS MarketWatch of April 23, 2004, says the the novel has "some very funny moments," and that the non-fiction mixes "global statistics and first-person accounts."  The Washington Post of March 15, 2004, calls Predatory Bender: America in the Aughts "the first novel about predatory lending;" the London Times of April 15, 2004, "A Novel Approach," said it "has a cast of colorful characters."  See also, "City Lit: Roman a Klepto [Review of 'Predatory Bender']," City Limits, Oct. 2004.  The Pittsburgh City Paper says the 100-page afterword makes the "indispensable point that predatory lending is now being aggressively exported to the rest of the globe." Click here for that review; click here to Search This Site  Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere.

Click here for Inner City Press' weekday news reports, from the United Nations and elsewhere. Click here for a recent BBC piece on Inner City Press' reporting from the United Nations. New: Follow us on TWITTER   BloggingHeads.tv  Click for March 1, 2011 BloggingHeads.tv re Libya, Sri Lanka, UN Corruption by Inner City Press. 2014: MRL on Beacon Reader  For or with more information, contact us.

March 1, 2021

CRA Litmus Test Looms on M&T People's Proposal on Money Laundering Plus Redlining

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

FEDERAL COURT / S Bronx, Feb 22 – Whether or not the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act will be again enforced until the new Administration and its regulators is an open question. And the proposed merger of two redlining banks, M&T and People's United, will be the litmus test.

  On the 32nd day of the new Administration, the banks announced a proposed merger. Fair Finance Watch with Inner City Press exposed M&T as a redliner as well as money launderer; the first label applies to People's United as well.

  So what willl the regulators in this ostensibly new world do? CRA protests will be filed, after FOIA requests. And it will be a, even the, litmus test. Watch this site.

 Meanwhile in Federal court, PNC Bank and its Midland Loan Services have been sued for usury, predatory lending and civil conspiracy, under New York and Federal law. 

February 22, 2021

In CRA Test 3d Rakuten Application Challenged to FDIC by Inner City Press on Compliance

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

FEDERAL COURT / S Bronx, Feb 15 – Whether or not the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act will be again enforced under the new Administration and its regulators is an open questions.

  On the 25th day of the new Administration, Fair Finance Watch with Inner City Press on the FOIA filed comments with the FDIC on the third application by Rakuten for Federal deposit insurance:

"Re: Timely first opposition to (third) application by Rakuten for FDIC insurance  Dear Chairman McWilliams:      Inner City Press / Fair Finance Watch is hereby timely opposing the second re-submission by Rakuten Card Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Rakuten, Inc., of an application for federal deposit insurance (Rakuten Application) with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to insure the deposits of Rakuten Bank America (Rakuten Bank).     

Not only do we believe that the revised application has not meaningfully changed and does little to address the fundamental question of mixing banking and non-financial activity as raised by the initial application, including concerns involving the use, privacy, and security of customer information - we also have these Rakuten-specific concerns which must be addressed, including at the public hearings we are hereby timely requesting.

1) " Rakuten USA, Inc’s Americas President, Yasuhisa “Yaz” Iida, allegedly grooming, sexually harassing, and finally, demoting Director of Corporate Hospitality, Jessica Wyman, who spurned his advances across two and a half years." See here 

2) "A former SoftBank Corp. employee has been arrested on suspicion of illegally disclosing 5G trade secrets to his new employer, Rakuten Mobile Inc., as it was preparing to launch its own mobile network.  [Police] arrested Kuniaki Aiba, 45, on suspicion of leaking secret information in breach of a law preventing unfair competition. See, here 

3) Also on anticompetitive behavior by Rakuten: "antitrust watchdog will launch an investigation into e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. after receiving a petition from a group of merchants over the planned free-shipping policy of the company's online shopping mall.  According to the petition organized by around 450 Rakuten marketplace merchants that was signed by 4,000 people, the company is abusing its dominant position by forcing them to shoulder the costs of free shipping for all orders." See, here

 4) Rakuten, Inc. has confirmed a judgement has been issued in a class action lawsuit against its consolidated subsidiary Buy.com Inc. (currently, RAKUTEN COMMERCE LLC) (U.S.). 1.Court and date of judgement (i) Court:  United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, here

  Procedurally, we requested a copy of Rakuten's application and received an acknowledgement of the request - but not yet the application. "Thank you for your request to receive the public, non-confidential portion of the selected deposit insurance application.  The FDIC appreciates your interest and will forward the requested application to the email address indicated." The application should have been put online; the comment period should be extended.    FFW and Inner City Press have been deeply concerned about the rush by the FDIC to rubber-stamp mergers by redliners. This has been killing the Community Reinvestment Act and we timely request public hearings, including on these concerns: (i) significant risks to the Deposit Insurance Fund (DIF) raised by the affiliation, integration, and assimilation of banking and non-financial businesses, and (ii) consumer protection concerns raised by the collection, use, privacy, security, and safeguarding of customer information."

February 15, 2021

Wells Fargo Account Scam Triggers SDNY Suit So Demand By Wells For Arbitration

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Feb 11 – Billy Dixon opened a Wells Fargo account with $750 in 2013. Then with Wells Fargo caught up in account opening fraud, it was closed the money not paid back for three weeks.

Dixon sued.

   On February 11, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge John P. Cronan held a proceeding. Inner City Press covered it.  

 Wells Fargo predictably wants to compel arbitration, or to dismiss the case.

 It has no fewer than three lawyers in the docket.

The case is Dixon v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA, 21-cv-10 (Cronan)

February 8, 2021

In CRA Test Challenges To VeraBank Panola Application Replied To By Fed But OCC Silent

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

FEDERAL COURT / S Bronx, Feb 6 – Whether or not the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act will be again enforced until the new Administration and its regulators is an open questions.

  On the 10th day of the new Administration, Fair Finance Watch with Inner City Press on the FOIA filed comments with the post-Brooks Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and with the Federal Reserve on a proposal by VeraBank of Texas to acquire Panola National Bank.

 The issues include that the applicant VeraBank in Texas in 2019 made 465 home loans to whites and only NINE to African Americans. Its denial rate for African Americans was more than FOUR TIMES than for whites.   

   That is to say, VeraBank in Texas in 2019 made 3.7 loans to whites for each denial to whites. It made less than one - 0.81 - loans to African Americans for every denial to African Americans.

   There is also this: "'In the second round we have seen about half the number of requests that we did in the first round,' said Brad Tidwell, president and CEO of Henderson-based VeraBank."

  To the OCC, the rubber-stamping of mergers by redliners under Brian Brooks and Joseph Otting has been explicitly noted. To the Fed, its logic in extending a recent comment period due to Coronavirus must apply to this and other applications.

  Now, 17 days into the new Administration, the Federal Reserve has replied: "Richard Potomac, Esq.
Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP
Dallas, Texas 75201-7932
Subject: VeraBank, Inc., Henderson, Texas, to acquire Panola National Bank, Carthage, Texas.
Dear Mr. Potomac:
This is to advise that as of February 2, 2021, processing of your application was transferred from Delegated
Action to Board Action for further review." Inner City Press got the "public" portion of the Fed application, and had FOIA-ed the rest (and more) from the Board. And from the OCC? Nothing. Nothing at all. When will this change?
These are litmus tests. Watch this site.

February 1, 2021

As Yellen Takes Over Treasury Fair Access Paused But What Merger Rubber Stamping?

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Jan 29 – The US Treasury Department's Office of the Comptroller of the Currency under Joseph Otting and Brian Brooks rubber stamped bank charters and mergers for crypto-currency operators and redliners without regard to the Community Reinvestment Act, or FOIA.

  On January 25 Janet Yellen became the Secretary of the Treasury. And on January 27, a pause in one of Brian Brooks' proposals - but what of pending scam charters and mergers? OCC: "The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) today announced it has paused publication of its rule to ensure large banks provide all customers fair access to their services.  The agency proposed the rule in November 2020 to codify more than a decade of OCC guidance stating that banks should conduct risk assessments of individual customers, rather than make broad-based decisions affecting whole categories or classes of customers, when providing access to services, capital, and credit.  Pausing publication of the rule in the Federal Register will allow the next confirmed Comptroller of the Currency to review the final rule and the public comments the OCC received, as part of an orderly transition."  What else will Yellen and whoever do to turn her Department's policies around? Inner City Press and Fair Finance Watch will be watching, acting and reporting.

January 25, 2021

On If CFPB Whitewash of Home Mortgage Data End Under Chopra FOIA By Inner City Press

By Matthew R. Lee, Video, FOIA fee denial

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Jan 20 – The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under Kathy Kraninger issued Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data in a way that excluded more of the public and community groups more than in any recent year, undermining the entire purpose of the HMDA law. See this page.

 Now, what will Rohit Chopra do? The access to data for grassroots groups no using Excel should be restored - and FOIA requests, by Inner City Press and others, must now be answered, see below.

  Inner City Press on submitted this FOIA request: "Dear CFPB Chief FOIA Officer:  Pursuant to the federal Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552, I request from the CFPB any and all records as that term is defined in FOIA regarding the CFPB's decision / action to make the 2018 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data only available for download (the so-called data filter) rather then searchable and viewable in reports on the CFPB website as was the case for the 2017 data.

     To assist you in rapidly providing the requested information - this is a request for expedited treatment given that the withholding in accessible format of the 2018 data each day hinders low income community groups from commenting on bank mergers, the only enforcement mechanism of the Community Reinvestment Act to prevent bank redlining - be aware that the issue has been raised to CFPB staff in a number of conference calls including most recently to, inter alia  Brenda Muniz, Tim Lambert [some names redacted in this format.]

  These CFPB staffers were directly asked by the undersigned who at CFPB made the decision to curtail availability of HMDA data in simple format on the website. Knowing which government agency official made such a decision is a sine qua non of FOIA: the information should be provided an expedite basis, as well as all related documents." Watch this site.

January 18, 2021

As Crypto Comptroller Brooks Gifts Anchorage He Quits Early So Can Corrupted OCC Be Fixed

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

SOUTH BRONX, Jan 14 – In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic and after the insurrection, crypto Comptroller of the Currency Brian Brooks on January 13 gave another quid pro quo gift, a bank charter to Anchorage, even as he quit with a week left in the Administration. Where might he land and get rewarded for all this?

 Meanwhile Inner City Press' requests under the Freedom of Information Act into Brooks' conflicts of interest in the fintech and crypto-currency world have yet to be fully answered.  Will Brooks be taking "his" documents with him?

  Brooks went whole hog with Anchorage, the so-called first crypto bank. It should be reversed - but will it be? Anchorage was represented by Dana Syracuse through the revolving door from the NYS Department of Financial Services.

Fair Finance Watch and others opposed and requested extensions on Figure, for which OCC has yet to answer Inner City Press' FOIA request, here.

On December 9, Brooks spoke at a Sinapore FinTech conference that charged for entrance. His Twitter profile gives equal space to CoinBase as the OCC. And what's next for him? Watch this site.

January 11, 2021

Manafort Lender Calk In Florida Is Denied Transfer To Illinois OCC Witnesses at Issue

By Matthew Russell Lee, Exclusive Patreon
Honduras - The Source - The Root - etc

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 7 – Steven M. Calk of FDIC-regulated Federal Savings Bank was presented and arraigned on May 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for financial institution bribery for corruptly using his position with FSB to issue $16 million in high-risk loans to Paul Manafort in a bid to obtain a senior position with the Trump administration, namely Undersecretary of the Army.

  On April 23 SDNY Judge Lorna G. Schofield held an oral argument, by telephone with Calk himself on the line from Chicago. Inner City Press covered it, below.

On December 17, this: " ORDERED that this case is in second place to be tried beginning on February 17, 2021. The parties shall be prepared to begin trial on that date."

Now on January 7, Judge Schofield held a proceeding and Inner City Press covered it. Calk, currently in Florida, had his lawyers argue to transfer the trial to Chicago. But jury trial there are banned through at least March 1. Calk's lawyer stressed their right to confront witnesses; OCC witnesses arose. Will the OCC's position change? Or, might Calk get a pardon before January 20? Inner City Press live tweeted some, here:

Manafort's lender Calk is arguing again that a Chicago and not  @SDNYLIVE  trial would be more convenient, with OCC witnesses. Will OCC get more aggressive?

Calk's lawyer: "Mr. Calk is in Florida today, but would have no problem being in Chicago whenever necessary."  AUSA: We're not sure the witnesses could testify by video of the defense's objections....

 Judge Schofield has just denied the motion to transfer the trial to Chicago. Calk's lawyers said they oppose Zoom cross examination. Case to proceed in SDNY.

Jan 7 podcast here.

On November 13 Calk again asked to transfer his case to the Northern District of Illinois, saying that "critical Chicago-based witnesses" will not come to New York due to travel restrictions and COVID quarantine rules.

Calk's filing listed Office of the Comptroller of the Currency witnesses Catherine Aguirre and four unnamed in the Chicago area and one in Virginia. 

Now on November 27, the day after Thanksgiving, Calk's lawyers have made a filing stating that "the infection rate in Illinois is high but may be cresting; in New York it is lower but clearly rising." Watch this site.

  On September 4 a trial date was set, after review by the SDNY assignment committee made up of Judges J. Paul Oetken and P. Kevin Castel and White Plains-based District Judge Vincent L. Briccetti: "ORDER as to Stephen M. Calk. It is hereby ORDERED that the parties are advised that jury trials will resume, and the jury trial in this action shall commence on December 2, 2020."

 But on September 11, the US Attorney wrote to Judge Schofield to put on the record the Illinois has been added to New York's (and the SDNY's) 14 day quarantine list, and says it may significantly impact the feasibility of a December trial. On September 17 Judge Schofield held a proceeding on this, and Inner City Press live tweeted it, here ...

  While the OCC has yet to sufficiently answer, and is trying to hinder Inner City Press' reporting, we will stay on this case.

  On May 23, still from the SDNY courthouse covering other cases including one involving the death penalty, Inner City Press reported finding no U.S. Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data for "Federal Savings Bank." But there's more.

The Federal Savings Bank's website, while providing a generic link to the FDIC, and a statement "Member FDIC," has no link for the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act. (Nor does it mention the indictment of Stephen Calk, simply listing his brother John Calk now as CEO and Vice Chairman. Who is the chairman?)

  It lists a loan production office on Avenue J in Brooklyn, and two deposit taking braches in Illinois. Did it see some exemption from the CRA and other consumer protection laws? From fair lending laws?

  Earlier on the morning of May 24 Inner City Press asked the FDIC, "Having covered yesterday's arraignment of the Chairman of The Federal Savings Bank in the SDNY courthouse, including the FDIC's involvement, I checked the bank's website and found "Member FDIC" but no mention of the Community Reinvestment Act."

  The FDIC's spokesperson David Barr, to his credit, responded quickly, writing to Inner City Press: "The Federal Savings Bank, Chicago, is regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. They would be responsible for CRA and regulatory oversight. You should contact the OCC for more information."

  Stephen Calk was quoted, at least in 2012, opposing regulation: "As Mr. Stephen Calk writes in the September 7, 2012 edition of Origination News: “Basel III is designed to level the playing field among major banking institutions that operate internationally. Force-feeding these same rules to community banks in the United States is unnecessary and in fact counter-productive, particularly in the current economic environment.” Basel III is one thing. But no Community Reinvestment Act?

The Federal Savings Bank lists locations - and bankers - in       Arizona - Scottsdale California - Irvine Colorado - Fort Collins Delaware - Selbyville Florida - Sarasota Illinois - Chicago Illinois - Lake Forest Illinois - Oak Brook Illinois - Park Ridge Indiana - Bloomington Indiana - Indianapolis Kansas - Overland Park Louisiana - Laplace Maryland - Annapolis Maryland - Timonium CD Massachusetts - Lawrence New Jersey - Hackensack New Jersey - Lakewood New York - Brooklyn New York - Melville New York - New York New York - Queens North Carolina - Raleigh Ohio - Columbus Rhode Island - South Kingstown Tennessee - Nashville Virginia - Alexandria Virginia - Fredericksburg Virginia - Newport News Virginia - Richmond Virginia - Vienna Virginia - Warrenton...  We'll have more on this.

January 4, 2021

Santander Makes Yonkers Towing A Federal Case Citing US Constitution and 42 USC 1983

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Dec 31 – Santander Consumer USA, Inc. has sued the City of Yonkers, citing the U.S. Constitution, for towing vehicles in which Santander has a security interest. 

 Now on New Year's Eve Santander has complained to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Paul E. Davison about Yonkers not cooperating with discovery.  

 Santanter writes, "This is a 42 USC 1983 case regarding the policies and customs of Yonkers and its towing agent, APOW... the only document Yonkers produced was a redacted letter relating to some other seized vehicle. This is not a sufficient production."  

 Depositions are to be completed by January 29, 2021.

The case is Santander Consumer USA, Inc. v. The City of Yonkers, et al., 20-cv-4553 (Karas / Davison)

***

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December 28, 2020

Fair Finance Watch Protests Figure Bank at OCC Which Is Now Sued By CSBS in DC District

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SOUTH BRONX, NY, Dec 26– Even amid the Coronavirus pandemic, U.S. banks and fintechs keeps seeking to merge and expand, with less and less oversight.  Now the Conference of State Bank Supervisors has sued the OCC, see below, citing "extensive consultation with Figure that occurred during the draft application process."

 Fair Finance Watch, with Inner City Press on the FOIA, filed a Community Reinvestment Act protest / request for extension of the OCC comment period:

Dear Comptroller Brooks, Mr. Lybarger, and others in the OCC:  This is a timely first comment opposing and requesting an extension of the required OCC's public comment period on the application of Figure Bank NA.    

  Back on November 23 Inner City Press submitted, through the OCC's FOIA portal, a request for "the entirety of the pending applications of, and all OCC communications since 1/1/2020 with... Figure. The records should be provided within the comment period on each application, including OCC communications with the companies and affiliates, given the policy issues raised by the application."       Now at the deadline, despite the policy issues, no response at all. This is unacceptable. The comment period must be extended - it is absurd to require the public to comment while having none of the information it timely requested.

       We will simply note for now that this proposal, and the rushing and cover up by the OCC, is an assault on the CRA.   

  On the obvious need for the OCC to respond to the FOIA request, from the public record: "Founder Mike Cagney is always pushing the envelope, and investors love him for it. Not long after sexual harassment allegations prompted him to leave SoFi, the personal finance company that he co-founded in 2011, he raised $50 million for a new lending startup called Figure that has since raised at least $225 million from investors and was valued a year ago at $1.2 billion.  Now, Cagney is trying to do something unprecedented with Figure."

Unprecedented - and covered up? Amid sexual harassment allegations?     

 For the above reasons, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and restrictions, the comment period should not yet start or should extended, until in person public hearings can be held."

On December 10, a boiler plate acknowledgement of comment - with still no response at all to the FOIA request filed during the comment period: "Re: Figure Bank, National Association Charter Application OCC Control Number 2020-WE-Charter-317593

Dear Mr. Lee: The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency acknowledges receipt of your letter dated December 7, 2020 regarding the above referenced application. We appreciate your comments and will consider these remarks during our review of the application. A copy of your comment letter has been provided to the applicant for their information."

  Now the Conference of State Bank Supervisors has sued the OCC over Figure: "Because of the extensive consultation with Figure that occurred during the draft application process, and the OCC’s accepting the application as complete, the OCC’s imminent approval of the Figure Charter Application is a foregone conclusion. Additionally, the OCC is actively soliciting other applications for Nonbank Charters and has expressed publicly its enthusiasm for issuing Nonbank Charters. 28. Both CSBS and each of its members that currently supervise and regulate Figure’s operations in their states have already suffered actual injury as a result of the confusion and disruption of resource allocation created by the Nonbank Charter Program and Figure Charter Application, as described herein. Additional injuries to CSBS and its members are imminent as Figure prepares to begin operating as a chartered nonbank and the OCC continues its pursuit of Case 1:20-cv-03797 Document 1 Filed 12/22/20 Page 9 of 70 10 additional Nonbank Charter applicants. The injuries suffered by CSBS and its members have therefore taken a concrete and particularized form, and the legal challenge brought by CSBS is fit for adjudication. 29. For all of these reasons, the Nonbank Charter Program and the OCC’s imminent granting of a Nonbank Charter to Figure are subject to this Court’s review under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and cannot stand. CSBS brings this action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief declaring the OCC’s Nonbank Charter Program and the Figure Charter unlawful and enjoining the OCC from soliciting, accepting, or approving applications for Nonbank Charters, including the Figure Charter Application. 30. Additionally, CSBS seeks a declaration that the OCC’s preemption regulations (found at 12 CFR §§ 7.4007, 7.4008, & 34.4) are invalid and enjoining the OCC from further action pursuant to those regulations."


This is today's OCC. It must change.

December 21, 2020


FDIC Widens ILC Loophope As Abuses FOIA Exemption 8 To Withhold From Inner City Press

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SOUTH BRONX, SDNY, Dec 11 – How pro-bank has the FDIC become? There's been evasion of FOIA - and now a wider ILC loophole.

On the former, when Inner City Press submitted a FOIA request for the absurd redactions by Multi-Bank to its application for a denovo bank in Florida, the response was that there will be no review of the redactions to the application - until the application is approved.   

Also, the FDIC uses FOIA exemption 8 to say that every single one of its communications about the application are exempt. This is a new low.

As is this, the finalization of an industrial loan company loophole rule which could, unless closed, allow Amazon, Facebook, Walmart and even Google through. Even Bank Policy Institute said of an ILC application Inner City Press opposed, "it will set a precedent for every other Big Tech company (Amazon, Facebook, Google, etc.) to enter banking through an [industrial loan company] charter without consolidated supervision." This must be opposed.

Inner City Press (and Fair Finance Watch) requested:

This is a FOIA request for (all of) the overly redacted "public" application of Multi-Bank Application For DeNovo State Bank in Florida. Inner City Press has seen the redacted version, which withholdings from the public and press information about those involved and their plans. The entire application should be provide, along with all of the FDIC's communications with these applicants for the past year (including for preparation of public comment - it should be expedited and provided on a rolling basis).

Here is the FDIC's response of December 11:

This is in response to your November 29, 2020 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request... In general, the non-confidential portions of an application for deposit insurance for a de novo bank, an application to establish a branch, and other applications are publicly available in the appropriate FDIC Regional Office until 180 days following final disposition of the filing... for access to the public file, please contact: FDIC Atlanta Regional Office ATTN: RMS Regional Director 10 10th Street, NE, Suite 800 Atlanta, GA 30309 Since a FOIA request for these records is premature under our regulations, we are administratively closing this portion of your request.   

So there is no review of redactions. Outrageous

. Communications Between the FDIC and Applicants By its very nature, the information that you requested, if it exists and could be located, would be information contained in, or related to, the examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of the FDIC in its regulation or supervision of financial institutions. All of that information, if it exists and could be located, would be exempt from disclosure in full under FOIA Exemption 8, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (b)(8). Therefore, this portion of your request is denied under Exemption 8

Inner City Press has appealed:

This is a FOIA appeal to the outrageous total denial by the FDIC to Inner City Press' FOIA request for the erroneously redacted portions of a pending bank application, and to communication about it.   Contrary to FOIA and the practice of other regulators, the December 11 decision ("Denial") by Alisa Colgrove Government Information Specialist FOIA/Privacy Act Group makes review of an applicant's redactions impossible until the FDIC approves an application.   

Exemptions are not supposed to be invoked across the board - it is impossible to believe that every since FDIC communication is covered by the exemption, and that is not the practice of the FRB. This is a laughable FOIA response and must immediately be reviewed and reversed, and the pending application stayed until it is.

December 14, 2020