The Texas Public Information Act (Texas Government Code, Chapter 552) gives the public the right to request access to government information. All government information is presumed to be available to the public; however, certain exceptions may apply to the disclosure of the information.
What is an "open records request"?
An open records request is a written request for public information contained in the files or records of a Texas governmental agency, including the Department of Banking (Department). Public information is any information collected, assembled, maintained under a law or in connection with the transaction of official business by a governmental body, or for a governmental body if the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it. To be released, it cannot be confidential under law or exempt from disclosure by the Public Information Act.
An open records or public information request must be for inspection or copies of an existing document or record. The Department is not required to generate a new document in order to respond to a request. For more information related to public information requests, please visit the Attorney General's website.
How do I request public information?
To request public information from the Department, the request must be in writing and must be mailed, hand-delivered, faxed, or emailed as follows:
Hand-delivered and mailed requests:
Public Information Coordinator
Texas Department of Banking
2601 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78705
Telephone inquiries: 877-276-5554 or 512-475-1300
Open Records fax requests: 512-475-1313
Email requests: firstname.lastname@example.org
What should I include in my request?
- Telephone number
This information is particularly important if you submit an email request.
- Describe the documents that you desire and be specific. If you do not know exactly what documents may be involved, describe the information you are seeking as specifically as possible, and we will determine if responsive documents exist.
- We are prohibited by law from asking you the purpose of your request, but you may provide it if you believe it would help us gather the information you request.
- Remember that information on our regulated entities may be available as far back as 1905, the year state banks became constitutionally permissible. You can save us time and possibly save yourself money if you do not ask for all documents. Be specific with regard to the time frame.
How long will it take to answer my request?
We will respond to a request for information promptly but no later than 10 business days after we receive the request. If you have a particular need for expedited treatment, we will attempt to meet that need but we cannot guarantee an early response date.
Is there any information maintained by the Department of Banking that I cannot inspect or obtain a copy of?
Much of the information maintained by the Department is confidential by federal or state law (Texas Finance Code, Texas Government Code, Texas Administrative Code) and we are therefore prohibited from disclosing. In addition to the mandatory confidentiality provisions, the Public Information Act itself provides certain exceptions to disclosure. If we withhold requested information that we consider to be confidential by law, the Department will request an opinion from the Office of the Attorney General on the propriety of not disclosing the information, unless an opinion specifically dealing with the same information has previously been issued. The requestor will receive a copy of any correspondence requesting an opinion and the Attorney General’s response. The requestor is entitled to submit a response to the Attorney General if he/she disagrees with the Department’s decision. Examples of confidential information include (but are not limited to):
- information related to a regulated entity’s financial condition or business affairs;
- information which might jeopardize an ongoing investigation of potentially unlawful activities;
- information contained in or relating to an examination report of a bank or trust company;
- shareholder information;
- confidential information obtained in a regulated entity’s application for a charter or license; and
- the identity of a party requesting an opinion (unless the party consents).
Will personal information that I provide to the Department of Banking be disclosed?
Our policy is to respect an individual's right to privacy to the extent permitted by the exceptions, both mandatory and discretionary, set forth in the Finance Code, the Government Code, and through common law. The following items will be disclosed only to the extent necessary to (1) comply with the law, or (2) resolve your complaint:
- your name and address;
- specific public information you request; and
- details of a complaint you submit.
In attempting to resolve a complaint, we may disclose the details of your complaint to another governmental agency, and to the entity that is the subject of the complaint, but only to the extent we feel is necessary to enable us to obtain needed information. If you do not want us to disclose the information outside of the Department, we will respect your wishes if they are made known to us. However, you should be aware that it may not be possible to resolve your complaint under these circumstances. We will not disclose personal information such as:
- your social security number;
- your bank account numbers; and
- details of a specific financial transaction, unless the Attorney General concludes in an opinion that the requested information must be disclosed. If you are concerned about the possibility of disclosure of certain information, please discuss the matter with one of our attorneys at 512-475-1300 before submitting your request or complaint.
What does it cost to receive public information?
A governmental body will utilize the methods established in 1 TAC § 70.3(c) - (e) when calculating allowable charges under Section 552.275 of the Texas Government Code.
Charges Per Request:
- $.10 per page for 50 pages or less; or
- $.10 per page + $18 per hour for personnel costs necessary to compile the documents if more than 50 pages.
- actual cost of postage or delivery method requested; and
- $20 per certificate plus $1 per page for certified copies of pages attached to each certificate.
When do I pay for the information provided?
We do not ask for payment if the total charges are less than $10. We may alter this general rule in certain circumstances, although typically not by a significant amount. If you are concerned about the cost of a request, please feel free to contact one of our attorneys. If the estimated cost exceeds $40, an itemized written statement of the cost will be provided, as well as less costly alternatives, if available.
You must respond in writing within 10 days after the date the estimate is sent either accepting the cost or the stated alternative. If no response is received, your request will be considered withdrawn.
Subsequent to your response, if it appears the actual cost will be more than 20% above the estimate previously given, we will notify you by providing a revised written estimate. Again, if you do not respond within 10 days, your request will be considered withdrawn.
If actual charges exceed $40 you will not have to pay more than the cost contained in the last revised written estimate that you accepted. If only the initial written estimate was provided and accepted, your cost will not exceed 120% of the initial estimate. If itemized charges exceed $40 and we did not provide you with a written estimate of charges, your bill will not exceed $40.
We normally provide the requested documents prior to payment and invoice you for the charges. If the estimated cost exceeds $100 and we provided you with the written estimate described above, we may require that you provide a deposit in that amount prior to fulfilling your request. If you have an unpaid invoice from a previous request, you will be required to pay for the present request in full prior to delivery. In addition, if previous unpaid invoices exceed $100, we will require a deposit equal to the previous unpaid invoices before we prepare a response to the present request.