Financial Institutions Advisory
Published by Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC

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March 31st, 2015


Thank you for taking the time to read this Howard & Howard Financial Institutions Advisory.  We think it is beneficial to provide our financial institution clients and friends with periodic updates on issues, industry developments, and regulatory changes to help you address the challenges facing the banking industry.  As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Howard & Howard Financial Services Practice Group.

Securing the .BANK Domain


In May of 2015, the .BANK generic top level domain "gTLD" (similar to .COM, .NET, and .ORG) will become available for reservation by qualifying banks/financial institutions. Banks do not have to give up their current gTLD to register the .BANK gTLD, and should consider the advantages of securing the .BANK domain even if they don't plan to use it immediately.


The .BANK gTLD will easily identify banking communities on the Internet for banking customers. Only verified banking organizations are eligible to register .BANK domain names.  The following explains the purpose of the .BANK gTLD and provides information about protecting your important banking brand in this new space.


The .BANK gTLD will have enhanced security requirements, including review of the following in conjunction with Symantec and Verisign:

  1. Security Check - A request by any organizations/persons on any government or restricted/black lists maintained by Symantec or fTLD will not be approved.
  2. Banking Credentials - An applicant must be registered and active in an appropriate jurisdiction and must maintain valid credentials.
  3. Domain Name Selection - The domain names must meet the requirements of the Name Selection Policy. An applicant can only purchase domains that correspond to its company's trademarks, trade names, or service marks. Domain names will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
  4. Physical Address & Telephone Number - The address and phone number listed in the application must be valid.
  5. Contact Employment & Authority - The registrant's contact person must be a full-time/non-contracting employee with authority to request domains on behalf of the organization.

Enhanced Security Measures:

For .BANK registrants, Domain Name System Security Extensions (DNSSEC) will be used to prevent Internet users from being misdirected to malicious sites. All .BANK registrants will be required to use email authentication to prevent spoofing and phishing. Multi-factor authentication will be utilized to prevent unauthorized users from changing registration data. Additionally, .BANK registrants are required to enhance encryption of their data and .BANK registrants will not be permitted to utilize proxy/privacy registration services, which conceal the identity and contact information of a domain name registrant.


Registration Periods:

There will be three registration periods for .BANK domain names. The estimated timeframes and eligibility information is outlined below: 

  1. Sunrise Period: May 18, 2015 - June 17, 2015 - This registration period is available to applicants that have registered their trademarks with ICANN's Trademark Clearinghouse, which is a centralized database of verified trademarks. Learn more here.
  2. Founders Period: June 18, 2015 - June 23, 2015 - This registration period is available to applicants that are founding members of fTLD. 
  3. General Availability: June 24, 2015 - Ongoing - This registration period is available to all applicants.

Beware of companies offering "pre-registration" or an "expression of interest" for a .BANK domain name. These companies cannot guarantee acquisition of a domain name. A .BANK domain name can only be registered from an fTLD Approved Registrar during the timeframes outlined above. More information about fTLD's .BANK policies may be found on fTLD's website.


If you have any questions or need assistance, please feel free to contact Linda Norcross, Joseph Hemker, or Jude Sullivan.


Attorney Spotlight
Linda Norcross Headshot
Ms. Norcross focuses her practice on protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.
Attorney Spotlight
Joe Hemker Headshot
Mr. Hemker focuses on representing financial institutions with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions.
Attorney Spotlight
Jude Sullivan Headshot
 Mr. Sullivan concentrates his practice on financial institutions mergers and acquisitions and capital matters.
Attorney Spotlight
Stephanie Buntin Headshot
 Ms. Buntin concentrates her practice on intellectual property.
About Howard & Howard
Howard & Howard Headquarters Howard & Howard is a full-service law firm with a national and international practice that provides specialized legal services to businesses and business owners. Our focused expertise provides us with a solid understanding of the industries we serve, and our results-oriented approach to practicing law is a beacon for business owners in search of intelligent counsel that aligns with their business goals. Howard & Howard has assembled experts from all legal disciplines who have the sound judgment, creativity and vision to assist businesses with their projects from conception to completion.  We work as a team -- and win for you.  Learn more about Howard & Howard here
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This Advisory is intended for informational purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice.  Please call a qualified attorney for counsel related to your particular situation.