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FOIA rules would streamline under NCUA plan
WASHINGTON (4/18/08)—A proposed a rule intended to streamline the National Credit Union Administration's (NCUA's) system for complying with freedom of information and privacy laws was approved for comment Thursday. Some of the revisions were housekeeping changes; others were more substantive. “The proposed rule incorporates recent amendments to the Freedom of Information Act, adds definitions, and revises and clarifies provisions implementing the Privacy Act,” the board said in a statement. The proposal calls for a 60-day comment period. Regarding the FOI, the NCUA would amend regulations to identify more precisely the agency’s Information Centers and addresses, and describe required content for request letters. “The changes are intended to minimize delays caused by requests being sent to an inappropriate office, or lacking necessary and sufficient information,” the agency's statement said. On the privacy issue, the proposal would abolish present language that permits persons to submit telephone requests. The NCUA Board is concerned that it is too difficult to enforce the regulation’s identification requirements. The board said that contemplated housekeeping changes in the privacy area include correcting cross-references, grammar and punctuation; a change in nomenclature and additional definitions to improve understanding of rights and requirements, and more exact definitions for “system manager” and “working day.” NCUA also said the proposed language on privacy would clarify that requests must be submitted in writing to the appropriate system manager or to other staff as specified. NCUA staff attorney Linda Dent, presenting the proposal at the agency's open board meeting, said NCUA received about 200 FOI requests in 2007. The average time spent by NCUA in completing a "simple request" for information is 16 days, she said. For "more complex requests," Dent said the agency averages a 32-day response time. Dent added that NCUA grants either partial or full information for 96% of information inquiries. Use the resource link below to access the NCUA plan.
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