Regulatory Bulletin 1.1-104 Public Records Requests
Table of Contents
1.0 Applicability and scope
The purpose of this bulletin is to clarify the procedure by which any person or regulated entity may obtain public information from the Division of Banks (Division).
The Massachusetts Public Records Law at G.L. c. 66, s. 10 provides that any person has an absolute right of access to public information. This right of access includes the right to inspect records or, upon payment of a reasonable fee, obtain copies of records. What constitutes a "public record" is broadly defined by G.L. c. 4, s. 7(26) which also sets forth statutory exemptions to this definition. All work papers and Reports of Examination held by the Division are exempt from public disclosure.
It is highly recommended that all public records requests be made in writing. Any person seeking access to a public record must provide the Division with a reasonable description of the desired information, including specific time periods for which the records are sought, so that the records can be identified and located promptly. All requests for public records must receive a response from the Division as soon as practicable, without unreasonable delay, and within 10 days. The Division’s response can be a request for further clarification on the nature of the records sought, an offer to provide the requested materials, or a written denial detailing the specific legal basis for withholding the requested materials. The Division's Public Information Officer is responsible for responding to such requests.
To request copies of public records and materials, please contact the Division's Public Information Officer at (617) 956-1501. The charge for photocopies of paper records is $.20 per page and the charge for printouts of electronic records is $.40 per page, payable by check or money order to the Massachusetts Division of Banks. In some cases, the Division may charge an hourly fee based on the time used to locate, copy and re-file the records; and the time used to delete any data that is exempt from public disclosure. This fee is based on the hourly rate of the lowest paid employee capable of performing the tasks.
Certain public information regarding institutions regulated by the Division may be viewed at the Division's website at www.mass.gov/dob.
For more information regarding public records requests, please visit the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website, http://www.sec.state.ma.us, and click on "Public Records Division". The laws and regulations addressing access to public records are found in M.G.L. c.4, §7(26)(a-m), M.G.L. c.66 and 950 CMR 32.00.
3.0 Historical notes
This bulletin was first issued in January 1998 in order to publish what have been internal Division policies. The bulletin was revised on May 8, 2012.
G.L. c. 4, s. 7(26)(a-m); G.L. c. 66, s. 10.