More than 500 European financial institutions have registered to obtain .bank top level domains (TLDs) following the launch by US internet regulators in June 2015.
The .bank rush in Europe follows more than 4000 registrations in the United States, with the first successful applications progressing to operational websites. Launches from Dollar Bank and Farmers Bank & Trust are at advanced stages, says CentralNic, the domain name group.
The .bank domain is managed by fTLD Registry Services, a private company specifically set up for the task, and owned, operated and governed by banks, insurance companies and their respective trade associations. Founders and endorsers include the American Bankers Association, British Bankers Association, European Banking Federation, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup.
In total, applicant banks face more than 30 enhanced security requirements that are specially designed to create a trusted, verified and more secure location for online banking business.
The price for a .bank domain is around $1500 - higher than typical consumer domains, reflecting the additional security features built around registrations.
The total cost of .bank implementation may be dwarfed by savings from reduced crime, says Ben Crawford, CEO of CentralNic, who points to 2014 figures from Intel Security and the Center for Strategic & International Studies that estimate the annual cost of cybercrime to the global economy at more than $400 billion.
“The internet, in its existing shape, is at the root of the problem," he says. "Restructuring the aspects that allow cybercrime in banking is a priority and tackling the domain element will significantly reduce the chances of online intellectual property theft. Now, quite simply, the only way to own a .bank address is to be a bank.”