WASHINGTON — Now that the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN) has approved the use of the Internet domain ".creditunion," CUNA says it has set up a mechanism for CUs to register their interest.

Dot-credit union is just one of a number of new top-level domain names expected to be approved in the next few years, including .bank for banking companies and .insure for insurance firms.

After ICANN said it would significantly broaden the number of approved top-level domain names beyond the limited number in use, such as .com, .org, .gov, .edu, and.coop, CUNA, with assistance from CUNA Mutual and COOP Financial Services, submitted an application for a ".creditunion."

CUNA said its application was selected from almost 2,000 generic, top-level domain name applications that had gone to ICANN over the past year.

"People are not just using dot-com domains anymore," said Eric Richard, CUNA's general counsel. "This influx of new domain names could change the way people use the internet, and credit unions are evolving with the new digital landscape."

As reported in Credit Union Journal, credit unions are not exactly overwhelmed by the new domain name. Many said they would register simply to prevent "cybersquatting" — the practice of registering a name by an unaffiliated party for uses unrelated to the entity's business.

According to CUNA's Richard, the new domain will be beneficial both as a marketing opportunity and a tool for enhanced security.

"This new domain will be an excellent tool for marketing as well as an opportunity to establish legitimacy and online security," he said. "In the wrong hands a '.creditunion' domain could allow someone intent on committing fraud to do so from a seemingly legitimate platform. That is why CUNA will only allow credit union entities to obtain a '.creditunion' extension."

CUNA said it will initiate a pre-certification process soon. Because ".creditunion" is a financial domain, an extra level of diligence is required to ensure that those attempting to register for the domain are legitimate.

That process will begin this spring, and CUNA said credit unions should expect to hear more information soon. Interested CUs can e-mail dotcreditunion@cuna.coop and explain their interest and what their specific web address request would be.

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