FOIA FAQs

What you should know about submitting a FOIA request before you submit.

Questions

Generally, any member of the public may submit a FOIA request concerning records maintained at the CFPB.

The goal is to respond within the timeframe outlined in the Freedom of Information Act, which is twenty working days or approximately one month, but this may vary with the complexity of the request.  When the CFPB needs an extension of time to respond to your request it will notify you in writing and offer you the opportunity to modify or limit the scope of your request. Alternatively, you may agree to a different timetable for the processing of your request.

The CFPB will acknowledge the request and determine if it meets the necessary standards to conduct a search. The Bureau will then conduct a reasonable search for responsive records, conduct consultation (as applicable), and/or provide an interim or final response.

Contact the CFPB FOIA Public Liaison at (855) 444-FOIA (3642) or CFPB_FOIA@consumerfinance.gov.

There is no initial fee for making a FOIA request.  However, the Freedom of Information Act authorizes  the CFPB to charge fees to recover the costs associated with the processing of your request.

A request will be processed ahead of other requests in the applicable queue if there is a compelling need to deliver the requested information by a particular time.

Fees may be reduced or waived if the requester demonstrates that the disclosure of the requested records is in the public interest.

The requester is deemed a delinquent requester and the CFPB will not process any requests from that requester until the fees are paid in full.  Delinquent fees are considered a government debt, therefore interest may accrue and collection measures may be taken.

Not all records or information may be released under FOIA or Privacy Act.  These exempted records or information must fall under one of the nine FOIA exemptions or one of the law enforcement exclusions . The Privacy Act has ten exemptions that may be used to withhold information or records.

An appeal may be submitted if the CFPB denies access to requested records in whole or in part; assigns the requester to a particular fee category; denies a fee reduction or waiver; produces no records; or determines a request does not merit expedited processing. Instructions for filing an appeal are included with the response to the request.

An appeal must be postmarked or submitted electronically to the CFPB within 45 calendar days of the date of the CFPB’s response or within 10 calendar days of an expedited processing denial. The CFPB Legal Division will provide a response to an appeal within 20 business days.

A request where an individual is seeking only records pertaining to him- or herself is a Privacy Act request, not a FOIA request. The CFPB uses the same process for submitting both Privacy Act requests and FOIA requests.

The CFPB requires a Privacy Act requester to verify their identity (e.g. driver’s license) or submit a third-party authorization in order to obtain records or information.

The CFPB maintains certain information about individuals in its system of records.  If you feel any information maintained about you is inaccurate, irrelevant, untimely, or incomplete, you may request an amendment.

The Office of Government Information Services offers mediation services to resolve disputes between FOIA requesters and agencies.