Interested in Registering a .BANK Domain Name?

It’s Better to Make a Plan Now Rather than Wait

By now you have likely heard that the new .bank Top Level Domain name will be available later this year for your bank to register. What you may not know is that there are certain deadlines you need to be aware of if you want to try and obtain a .bank domain name that matches your current .com domain name or the legal name of your bank.
Details are still being worked out for the Top Level Domain (TLD) registration process for .bank domain names, including determining who the approved registrars will be. Top Level Domain, or TLD for short, refers to the domain name extension—the part of your domain name that comes after the dot—such as .com.

Following are some important issues for you to start considering now:
1) BankOnIT can assist in registering these on behalf of our client banks. The registration process does require contact information for a full-time employee at the bank, because part of the authorization process involves obtaining information to “verify” that the applicant is a bank.

2) There will likely be some naming conflicts, at least for banks that do not or cannot apply during an initial 30-day period (see #3 below). After the initial 30 days, .bank names will be issued to banks on a first-come, first-served basis—just like all other TLD’s are now. Owning the current .com domain name will not automatically entitle your bank to get the same domain name ending in .bank. A bank first must have its trademark registered with ICANN’s Trademark Clearinghouse, and other requirements must be met.

3) There is a Sunrise period (30 days before the domains become generally available to other banks), during which priority registration will be available to those banks that have registered their trademarks at the Trademark Clearinghouse, that already have an equivalent .com name, and that have met certain other requirements. See the following website: http://www.trademark-clearinghouse.com/content/accepted-trademarks

4) Availability of .bank domain names is scheduled to begin May 15th, 2015 (the start of the Sunrise period) for those banks that have both an equivalent .com domain name and a trademark registered in the Trademark Clearinghouse. On June 15th, registration is available for other banks.

5) Registration pricing hasn’t been established officially but comments seem to suggest that the pricing will be much higher than a typical domain name (estimated to be in the $300-$700 per year range). This is partially due to the enhanced verification process for obtaining and renewing a .bank name.

6) The domain hosting process will require some additional security safeguards that will likely create an additional per-domain charge to make it happen, similar to an SSL certificate today.
The domain extension .bank is industry-controlled. Some are claiming there is more “safety” to it since only valid members of the financial services community can register one of these and the application process is somewhat stringent. HOWEVER, there are approximately 1,500 other TLD’s coming out in 2015 that are NOT industry-controlled and these include some interesting ones like .mortgage, .creditcard and .lending. These will be available for anyone to register, similar to .com today. The large number of new TLDs is likely to cause some level of confusion for consumers. It remains to be seen how effective the industry will be in implementing the .bank TLD and educating consumers about the differences between .bank and everything else.

About the author
A former banker, Robert Mendez is Executive Vice president at BankOnIT. BankOnIT is the exclusive developer and provider of the Bankers Private Cloud®, a unique cloud-based I.T. solution for community banks that improves efficiency, disaster recovery, and information security while minimizing a bank’s risks – including regulatory and strategic risks – that are present in today’s rapidly changing technology environment. For more information visit www.bankonitusa.com or contact BankOnIT at 800-498-8877 or solutions@bankonitusa.com.