Hometown Bank changes its name to a non-brand .Bank domain name

HomeTown Bank is a bank in Minnesota that I didn’t know about until this morning. The bank, which I guess is one of a number of independent banks under the Hometown Bank brand, uses HTBMN.com for their website. The HTB in its domain name stands for HomeTown Bank and the MN in its domain name is the two letter abbreviation for the state of Minnesota.

In a crowded brand space, the bank likely chose this acronym domain name because it was the shortest, easiest-to-remember domain name available. Better domain names like the ones below are owned by others:

  • Hometown.com – listed on Evergreen.com
  • HometownBank.com – redirects to another banking website
  • HTB.com – Owned by HomeTrust Bank

This week, the brand announced the update of its website and the use of a new domain name. Instead of the domain name HTBMN.com, the bank now uses MYHT.Bank for its website. Including the extension, the bank changed from an 8 letter domain name to another 8 letter domain name.

Unfortunately for this HomeTown Bank, I’m assuming another bank in Texas with the same name is already using brand matching, dot spanning, HomeTown.Bank domain name. Additionally, another HomeTown bank in Ohio uses HT.Bank for their website.

I don’t know why this bank chose MYHB as an acronym rather than HTMN for HomeTown Minnesota. Frankly, I’m not sure why he chose to change his domain name when he updated his website.

In a blog post, here is what the bank wrote about its decision to change its domain name:

New dot-bank domains are being adopted by many banks around the world, including HomeTown Bank, to provide greater security for bank customers and their website visitors. Think of it as our “online trust mark” for our banking website. Once the transition to myht.bank is complete, HomeTown Bank customers can rest assured that when they visit our website or communicate with us electronically through our new emails (@ myht.bank), security requirements and enhanced auditing are in place to reduce the risk of cyber threats and allow us to continue to rely on our highly trusted secure environment.

In my opinion, switching to a non-brand .Bank domain name will end up being confusing for customers. This is particularly the case if their clientele is older and less familiar with .com-alternatives extensions. I could see the usefulness of switching to a branded domain name like HomeTown.Bank, but switching to another acronym domain name on a new extension could end up confusing.