WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has won preliminary approval from the Internet Corporation for Names and Numbers (ICANN), the international body that authorizes web extensions, for the Internet domain name .creditunion (dot credit union). The new domain name is expected to be finalized and go live early next year, and CUNA will work with World Council of Credit Unions and foreign regulatory authorities so that credit unions around the world can also use .creditunion.
"We are grateful to CUNA for the foresight to secure the dot credit union domain to help protect and promote the credit union brand in the digital landscape," said Brian Branch, World Council president and CEO. "This will help expand the mark to credit unions worldwide."
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. Well-known U.S. companies have already sought domain names to associate with their brands, such as .Chevy or .AIG, and other financial services categories like .bank and .insure are in the process of being created. The actions prompted CUNA to submit a .creditunion application on behalf of the credit union movement. ICANN accepted CUNA's submission from nearly 2,000 top-level domain name applications in the past four months.
"As the national trade group for credit unions, CUNA felt compelled to secure the .creditunion extension," said CUNA General Counsel Eric Richard, indicating that in the wrong hands, the domain could allow someone to commit fraud from a seemingly legitimate platform. Credit unions might also have faced high fees to secure a site on the domain if it went to someone willing to sell to the highest bidder. "We recognized there was both value to the credit union system, and potential abuse if it were not properly safeguarded."
With preliminary approval for the .creditunion domain now in place, the next several months will be focused on finalizing details. Final approval for the domain to go live is expected in early 2014.
Interested credit unions may email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Robin Cook, CUNA assistant general counsel for special projects, by phone at +1-202-508-6734 to explain their desire to use the domain and what their specific web address would be. CUNA has asked credit unions to express their interest by Aug. 1, 2013. Inquiries are nonbinding.
CUNA expressed its gratitude to CUNA Mutual Group and Co-op Financial Services, both of whom assisted in funding the application cost.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.