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Type: Non-Profit Corporation
Founded: 1996
Country: USA
Key People
Paul Smocer, President

BITS is the technology policy division of the Financial Services Roundtable. It represents 100 of the largest financial services companies that provide insurance, investment products or banking services.[1]

In 1996, CEOs and senior executives of the nation's largest financial institutions recognized the need for an organization to keep up with vast changes brought about by new technologies. At that time, Frank Wobst, then Chairman and CEO of Huntington Bancshares, chaired The Financial Services Roundtable's Technology Task Force. Through his leadership, BITS was created to allow Roundtable members to collaborate on key technology issues affecting the financial services industry.

BITS addresses issues at the intersection of financial services, technology and public policy, where industry cooperation serves the public good, such as critical infrastructure protection, fraud prevention, and the safety of financial services. BITS is the technology policy division of The Financial Services Roundtable, which represents 100 integrated financial services companies providing banking, insurance, and investment products and services to the American consumer.[2]

.Bank and .Insurance Financial TLD Initiative

BITS/The Financial Services Roundtable, in partnership with the American Bankers Association, formed fTLD Registry Services, LLC (fTLD) to apply to ICANN to operate financially-oriented gTLDs. In 2012, fTLD submitted community-based applications for the .bank and .insurance TLDs to provide trusted and protected online spaces for the banking and insurance industries and their millions of consumers. Craig Schwartz, former chief gTLD registry liaison of ICANN, serves as the head of operations for fTLD. fTLD chose Verisign to serve as its back-end registry operations provider.[3] [4][5]


Before the application process was event closed, the European Banking Authority sent a warning letter to ICANN arguing that financially-oriented gTLDs are "dangerous and should be banned". [6]


The BITS and ABA's application for .bank and .insurance domain name strings are both in contention with those of Radix, a subsidiary business of the Directi Group, which applied for 31 new gTLDs.[7] Its .insurance TLD is further contested by Donuts, the largest single gTLD applicant, and Progressive Casualty Insurance Co..[8]


BITS has participated in the ICANN process since 2008 and has sent letters to ICANN following the publication of certain new gTLD program materials. BITS has sent letters to ICANN following the publication of many of the organization's new gTLD programs, including the first, second, third and fourth versions.[9][10][11][12] In late 2010, BITS threatened legal action against ICANN should it not defer the delegation of any financial TLD.[13] Since that time, BITS announced it is working with the American Bankers Association to apply for financial TLDs.

BITS has been vocal about what it deems as mandatory secuirty measure for any financially related gTLD. There are no specific measures stipulated in ICANN's Applicant Guidebook. BITS' Security Standards Working Group has made its own set of suggestions to ICANN on such requirements.[14]