.bank is here!

On September 25, 2014, the Internet Corporation for the Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) granted the application of fTLD Registry Services (FRS) to operate a new Top Level Domain (TLD) exclusively for the banking industry: .bank. When general registration for the new TLD opens next year, banks and other members of the banking community will be able to operate through custom websites such as Local.bank, as opposed to the traditional LocalBank.com. To avoid the internet land rush for .bank extensions expected during the general registration window, banks with federally registered trademarks can get a 30-day head start towards TheirTrademark.bank by applying (and paying) for a spot on ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse registry.

The recently announced .bank operator, FRS, is a joint project between the American Bankers Association and the technology policy arm of a financial advocacy organization. FRS has been public about its plans to impose a thorough vetting process for any entities seeking to obtain a .bank domain, including charter and/or license verification, such that only verified members of the banking community are eligible to apply. Registrants must agree to abide by an Acceptable Use Policy, proscribing conduct such as anti-competitive behavior, impersonating a third party, violating privacy rights, money laundering and terrorist financing, and will be prohibited from licensing their .bank domain to any other party. FRS has also committed to implementing a series of high level security, stability, and resiliency requirements for .bank domains.

These added security features are very appealing to both banks and their customers, who are increasingly targeted by financial scams from seemingly legitimate .com websites. Per FTD’s website, the planned security measures “exceed [those] of most existing and new” generic TLDs, making .bank domains “protected, trusted and easily identifiable spaces on the Internet” for global banking. The early registration period for .bank domains is expected to open in May 2015, so banks are encouraged to move quickly, assess their trademark portfolios, and prepare for the next wave in the evolution of secure Internet banking.

Click here for more information on the roll-out of .bank.