18(a) Describe the mission/purpose of your proposed gTLD

Prototypical answer:

gTLDFull Legal NameE-mail suffixDetail
.bankfTLD Registry Services LLCfsround.orgView

fTLD Registry Services, LLC (FRS) is submitting this application on behalf of the global banking community to ensure that the .bank gTLD will serve as a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace for this community, the businesses that are either supported by or represent the community and the consumers it serves. All registrants within .bank will be vetted prior to registration to ensure their identity and their commitment to industry best standards developed by FRS in conjunction with the financial services community. In addition, the registry will employ a network of both active and passive safeguards in the operation of the registry to make certain that registrants continue to abide by the terms and conditions set forth in the registration agreement.

The Internet represents a critical component of the global trade and commerce engine and the .bank gTLD is expected to address some of the online security challenges currently faced by the banking community. Whether spoofing, spamming, phishing or pharming, research shows that banks and consumers suffer tremendously from the growing threat of criminal and fraudulent activities conducted over the Internet. While FRS is keenly aware that there is no silver
bullet to eradicate these threats, the security and other protocols that will be supplanted within .bank are expected to curb some of the current online abuses. FRS will continue to engage in outreach and education within the global banking community and help raise awareness of various threats and the potential resources and security available to combat them.

A sampling of online threats faced by consumers and the banking community includes:
- The RSA Online Fraud Report of January 2012 found that phishing is on the rise, reaching 279,580 attacks in 2011, a 37% increase from 2010. Targeted brands including potential .bank registrants representing 31 different geographies experienced the most attacks throughout the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, India, and Brazil. RSA is a premier provider of security, risk and compliance management solutions for businesses.
- According to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), in the first half of 2011 almost half of all phishing emails purported to come from a financial institution. Phishing threatens customer confidence and trust in the online banking channel. APWG is a non-profit global pan-industrial and law enforcement association focused on eliminating fraud, crime and identity theft that results from phishing, pharming, malware and email spoofing of all types.

Due to the strict vetting process that will occur before a .bank domain is awarded, the frequency of phishing using the .bank gTLD will be greatly reduced. FRS will work with the banking industry to create a strategy that significantly reduces the risk of bank-related phishing and other malicious activities perpetrated on the Internet.

The .bank gTLD will provide the industry with an innovative space to explore cutting edge business opportunities and mechanisms to better serve and protect Internet users. With increased customer demand for faster and more convenient transactions and the need for a secure and innovative space, securing .bank presents the banking industry with an unparalleled opportunity. Over time, one of the goals of this gTLD is to become the consumer’s choice for information about the banking industry.

As awareness and use of .bank increases over time, Internet users will come to learn, understand and trust that websites ending in .bank are operated by legitimate members of the banking community. FRS’ implementation of stringent registration restrictions, enhanced security standards created by the financial services industry, content⁄use requirements and rigid enforcement will contribute to the security, stability, and resiliency of the bank gTLD and ultimately result in increased consumer trust and confidence in the gTLD.

Why FRS?
In 2008, the American Bankers Association (ABA) and The Financial Services Roundtable’s (Roundtable) executives and members allocated resources to work in conjunction with banker committees to examine the potential impact the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) new gTLD program could have on the financial services industry and to make recommendations regarding next steps. Marked concern arose regarding the expansion program, especially in light of the resources and expenditures currently dedicated to stem existing online abuses.

During the last four years, the ABA and Roundtable united to play an active role in ICANN’s development of its new gTLD program. Both organizations engaged with ICANN to voice community concerns about the program, and were successful in raising awareness about the need to protect brands and intellectual property. In addition, the ABA and Roundtable were successful with their request to ICANN for a modification to the Security Policy question in the
Applicant Guidebook and it now includes that gTLDs with unique trust implications, such as those that are financial services-oriented, are expected to deploy appropriate levels of security. However, absent assurances that .bank and other financial gTLDs would be protected, the Executive Committee and Board of each respective organization voted and authorized staff to take all actions necessary to secure financial gTLDs including .bank.  

At the behest and approval of both the ABA and the Roundtable members and Boards, FRS was formed in 2011 for the explicit purpose of applying for and operating financial services-related gTLDs. In addition, FRS seeks to protect the brand space, improve the protection available for a more secure Internet ecosystem, collaborate on delivering more innovative and secure products and services, and zealously advocate for the interests of the global banking
community with ICANN.

The Operating Managers of FRS:
Founded in 1875, the American Bankers Association represents banks of all sizes and charters and is the voice for the U.S. banking industry’s $13 trillion banking industry and its 2 million employees. ABA marshals the talent, energy and perspectives of its members to bring about positive change for the banking industry. In conjunction with the financial services community, the ABA has developed and continues to own a number of innovative systems that support the financial services industry. The ABA Routing Number (“RTN”) system was developed in 1910 and serves to identify the specific financial institution responsible for the payment of a negotiable instrument. In 1964, the ABA organized the Committee on Uniform Security Identification Procedures (CUSIP), for the purpose of developing an identifier for financial instruments. ABA is also an active member of the International Banking Federation, formed in March 2004 to represent the combined views of a group of national banking associations. Collectively, the countries represented by the Federation reach more than 18,000 banks with 275,000 branches.

The first of the Roundtableʹs predecessor organizations, the Association of Reserve City Bankers, was formed in 1912. The Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 led to the 1958 formation of another independent organization, the Association of Registered Bank Holding Companies. The two organizations merged in July 1993, and became The Bankers Roundtable in October 1993. In early 2000, the first members from the securities, investment, and banking sectors
joined their banking brethren as founding members of the Roundtable. Today, the Roundtable represents 100 of the largest integrated financial services companies providing banking, investment products and services to the American consumer.

FRS has engaged the Australian Banker’s Association, British Bankers’ Association, European Banking Federation, and the International Banking Federation in conversations regarding use of the .bank gTLD and they endorse the initative.

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