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OCC Withholds US Bank CEO Letter It Used To Approve Union Bank Merger, Corporate Capture

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Maxwell book

SOUTH BRONX NYC, Feb 10 – How untransparent and pro-bank are today's regulators, including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency?

Today's example is the OCC's denial in full of Inner City Press' Freedom of Information Act request about its approval of U.S. Bank's application to acquire Union Bank, which Fair Finance Watch and others challenged under the Community Reinvestment Act. 

 Inner City Press submitted the request in November 2022, and immediately clarified and narrowed the request after an OCC inquiry.

Now on February 10, 2023, the OCC responds - and withholds 16 pages in full, providing no information at all. This on the day the OCC holds a symposium about mergers - with speakers from corporate law firms.

Here's from the OCC's letter:

"You requested the OCC's U.S. Bank - Union Bank merger approval order, including any conditions and any and all records related to the basis for the conditions, and approval. By PAL message dated December 7, 2022, you clarified that you are seeking the October 10, 2022 letter from Andrew Cecere to OCC as referenced in the approval order and records related or directly referenced in the October 10, 2022 letter (Date Range for Record Search: From 01/01/2022 To 11/23/2022). By PAL message dated December 7, 2022, we provided you a link to the OCC's approval order on OCC's website.

Your request for the October 10, 2022 letter from Andrew Cecere and records related or directly referenced in the October 10, 2022 is denied.

We have withheld 16 pages by the authority of U.S.C. 552(b)(4) and 12 C.F.R. 4.12(b)(4), trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential; and 5 U.S.C. 552 (b)(8) and 12 C.F.R. 4.12(b)(8), relating to records contained in or related to examination, operating, or condition reports prepared by, on behalf of, or for the use of an agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions. We have reviewed the information protected by the cited exemption(s) under a presumption of openness but have determined that it is reasonably foreseeable that the disclosure of the information would harm an interest protected by the applicable exemption(s).    

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