WASHINGTON, May 31, 2012 — The American Bankers Association (ABA) and The Financial Services Roundtable announced today they have applied to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to operate two generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), .bank and .insurance, on behalf of the financial services industry.
The ABA and Roundtable initiative is endorsed by the Australian Bankers' Association, American Bankers Insurance Association, British Bankers' Association, European Banking Federation, Independent Community Bankers of America, the International Banking Federation, and numerous financial services institutions.
"A strong, secure Internet is essential to a healthy global financial system," said Craig Schwartz, head of operations for the ABA and Roundtable effort. "The industry has applied for .bank and .insurance to provide the highest security for the millions of customers conducting banking and insurance activities online and to ensure the safety and soundness of the industry."
The industry's goals are to provide unparalleled online security and to safeguard consumers against imposter websites, thereby reducing malicious behavior and fraud. 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 gTLD be required to provide heightened security.
To further enhance security and confidence in .bank and .insurance, all financial institution registrants must be chartered by their home country financial regulators, and any other financial entities will be vetted to ensure compliance with strict registration requirements.
"Consumers need to feel confident when they go to a .bank or .insurance site that a trusted third-party has vetted these domains names," said Doug Johnson, ABA vice president of risk management. "New financial domains will be a detriment – rather than asset – if they cannot be trusted. That's why our associations are leading this effort."
"An influx of new domains creates a more complex Internet. The industry is united in its effort to ensure as this process unfolds, that consumers know where to go, who they are dealing with, and that the highest security and fraud prevention controls are in operation on their behalf," said Paul Smocer, president of BITS, the technology policy division of the Roundtable.
Many have expressed concerns, which are shared by the financial services community, about ICANN's plan to proceed with financial gTLDs. 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.
About American Bankers AssociationThe American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes and charters and is the voice for the nation's $14 trillion banking industry and its two million employees. The majority of ABA's members are banks with less than $185 million in assets. Learn more at www.aba.com.
About Financial Services RoundtableThe Financial Services Roundtable represents 100 of the largest integrated financial services companies providing banking, insurance, and investment products and services to the American consumer. Roundtable member companies provide fuel for America's economic engine, accounting directly for $92.7 trillion in managed assets, $1.2 trillion in revenue, and 2.3 million jobs.BITS, the Roundtable's technology policy division, addresses issues at the intersection of financial services, technology and public policy, where industry cooperation serves the public good, such as critical infrastructure protection, fraud prevention, and the safety of financial services. Learn more at www.fsround.org.
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