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Bankers Seeking Specialized Internet Addresses

Higher level of security sought for online banking

May 31, 2012

By MortgageDaily.com staff


Financial institutions around the globe hope to provide consumers with a more secure system to conduct banking services online by replacing the dot-com extensions on financial websites.

Instead, banks would host online financial services on websites that end in ".bank" and provide an extra layer of security.

Bankers in Australia, Europe and the United States are on board with the idea.

An application has been made by the American Bankers Association and the Financial Services Roundtable to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers -- or ICANN -- to operate the top-level domain ".bank," an announcement Thursday said. They are also requesting the ability to operate the ".insurance" top-level domain.

In addition to the ABA, the initiative has been endorsed by American Bankers Insurance Association and the Independent Community Bankers of America as well as the Australian Bankers' Association, British Bankers' Association and European Banking Federation. The International Banking Federation and numerous financial services institutions have also thrown their support behind the move.

"The industry's goals are to provide unparalleled online security and to safeguard consumers against imposter websites, thereby reducing malicious behavior and fraud," the statement said. "The new .bank and .insurance domains will adhere to the 31 security standards the roundtable and ABA submitted to ICANN in December 2011, with the request that any new financially-oriented generic top level domains be required to provide heightened security."

Participants that utilize the new top-level domains would be required to be chartered by their financial regulators in their home countries, while other financial entities would be vetted to ensure compliance with strict registration requirements.

The requests were made in response to concern about ICANN's plan to proceed with financial generic top level domains.

"The roundtable and ABA are responding through engagement to ensure that if financial domains are created, they represent legitimate financial entities, are highly secure and prevent customer confusion," ABA said.

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