When Lead Bank changed its name from Garden City Bank in 2010, one of the primary drivers was to provide more business flexibility than that associated with a single geographic name. However, one of the problems management encountered was finding a suitable .COM domain name and LEADBANK.COM was already registered by a lead generation firm. Lead Bank eventually settled on the domain name LEADBANKONLINE.COM, after other choices were unavailable or priced in excess of $50,000. The .BANK domain name provided Lead Bank the opportunity to secure a short, memorable and intuitive domain name corresponding to its corporate brand. In 2014, after hearing about the pending launch of .BANK in 2015, Josh Rowland, Vice Chairman at Lead Bank, brought the opportunity of migrating Lead Bank’s online presence to a .BANK domain name to the bank’s executive leadership. After undertaking a cost-benefit analysis, the benefits of enhanced security and consumer confidence clearly outweighed the nominal costs of registering the domain name and migrating its existing online presence to this new domain.
Rowland first raised the issue of migrating to .BANK with the executive leadership team in 3Q 2014, and the decision to proceed was made 1Q 2015. The only unknown variable was what domain name(s) they would be able to secure. Lead Bank initially registered the domain name LEADBANK.BANK during .BANK’s Sunrise period. This was an exclusive period during the launch of the .BANK domain available only to qualified trademark owners. However, Lead Bank was able to secure the shorter more memorable name LEAD.BANK on the first day of General Availability in June 2015. After securing both the LEAD.BANK and LEADBANK.BANK domain names, Lead Bank made the decision to move forward with the shorter and more memorable LEAD.BANK. Lead Bank’s migration team was comprised of Rowland, Darrin Moorer (Chief Information Officer), Melissa Beltrame (Marketing Director) and Christine Halla (Chief Risk Officer). Once the decision to migrate to a .BANK domain name was made, Lead Bank undertook researching the necessary steps to ensure a seamless migration.
There were a number of minor technical issues that Lead Bank encountered that required resolution, although none of them materially impacted the migration. Lead Bank selected EnCirca who was able to assist in the registration as well as some of the other .BANK security requirements. While Lead Bank encountered some early email problems complying with the .BANK security requirement for email authentication, specifically involving DMARC configurations, this was resolved with minimal interruption to the overall migration.
Lead Bank made use of “A Guide to Leveraging .BANK”, a document developed by fTLD Registry Services, when preparing its marketing material to notify its customers about the change in the bank’s domain name. In addition to using email, statement stuffers, and website communications, Lead Bank also prepared a Frequently Asked Questions document, which it made available online for its customers to learn about the migration as well as the broader .BANK initiative, found here. Lead Bank also reached out to the local NBC news affiliate which aired a two-minute story on cyber security and how Lead Bank’s adoption of a .BANK domain name was seeking to proactively protect its customers.
The biggest take away for Lead Bank in its migration to a .BANK domain name was the need for proper planning to coordinate with various technical vendors to ensure a seamless transition. Although most core service providers were aware of the .BANK initiative, they had not yet fully integrated the various security requirements into its service offering. This required addressing the .BANK security options through other service providers.