WASHINGTON (2/26/14, UPDATED 8:58 a.m. ET)--A new Internet domain name just for credit unions, .creditunion (dot credit union), is just about a reality.
The Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN) has notified the Credit Union National Association that the domain name has been approved--and there are just a few more steps to take before it becomes available for credit unions' use.
Back in 2011, ICANN announced 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 submitted a .creditunion application on behalf of the credit union movement.
After this notice of approval, explains CUNA General Counsel Eric Richard, the next step for CUNA to negotiate a contract with ICANN and CUNA's designated registrar company.
"People are not just using dot-com domains anymore," says Richard, "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 Richard further notes, the new top level domain is 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. 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" extention. As the largest national trade group for credit unions, we felt it important to secure the domain," Richard explains.
CUNA has nine months to take that next step and Richard predicted Wednesday that CUNA would likely make full use of that timeframe before completing the step.
But in nine months? Credit unions may see the arrival of a new domain name that looks a lot like them.