The Financial Services Roundtable and American Bankers Association are close to operating the .bank internet domain, the group says.

The move, the Financial Services Roundtable noted in a blog Friday, marks "a major step to secure the online presence of banks and the services they provide to their customers." Having a top level .bank domain, "will provide a high-security, easily identifiable space on the Internet for verified members of the banking community and other related for-profit and nonprofit entities," according to the group.

FSR and ABA formed fTLD Registry Services in 2011 to obtain ownership and operation of top-level domains important to the financial industry.

The use of .bank and .insurance is expected to create "brand value and awareness for the members of the banking and insurance communities," FSR said. In addition, the space will operate under "strict security standards that go above and beyond the security level" of the commercially available websites.

"We expect this will strengthen consumer confidence in the industry and help thwart potential criminal efforts to redirect customers to counterfeit bank websites," the blog stated.

Some of the security requirements for banks and insurers will include Domain Name System Security Extensions that will offer e-mail authentication to prevent spoofing, phishing and other malicious activity.

Banks will have the option to apply for .bank domain names before they are made available to the public for purchase. The .bank domain is expected to be ready for use in 2015.