In late June, ICANN, the group that oversees internet domain names, lifted its restriction on internet address endings (also known as generic top-level domain names or gTLD) from the current 22, which includes such domains as .com, .org and .net, to infinity. Starting on January 12 (and ending April 12), anyone who wants to pay the $185,000 fee and fill out a 250-page application can apply for a domain name that suits their brand name (e.g. .bnymellon). This potentially opens up an opportunity to banks to market and brand themselves differently through their internet addresses and to offer more secure online banking - the new regime raises the scrutiny, money and effort required to register a new internet address.

But two issues that stand in the way. One that's been articulated by the American Bankers Association is the concern that whatever entity ends up controlling the .bank domain could either charge high fees to financial institutions wishing to protect their intellectual property or fail to securely operate such domains, damaging consumer confidence in the internet channel. ABA and the Financial Services Roundtable are exploring whether to apply to become a registrar for ".bank."

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