HomeTown Bank is a bank in Minnesota I wasn’t familiar with until this morning. The bank, which I would guess is one of many unrelated banks branded as Hometown Bank, has been using HTBMN.com for its 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 and easiest domain name to remember that was available. Better domain names such as the ones below are owned by others:
- Hometown.com – listed for sale on Evergreen.com
- HometownBank.com – forwards to a different bank website
- HTB.com – Owned by HomeTrust Bank
This week, the brand announced it was updating its website and using a new domain name. Instead of the HTBMN.com domain name, the bank is now using MYHT.Bank for its website. Including the extension, the bank went from an 8 letter domain name to another 8 letter domain name.
Unfortunately for this HomeTown Bank, I suppose, another bank in Texas with the same name is already using the brand match, dot spanning, HomeTown.Bank domain name. In addition, yet another HomeTown Bank in Ohio is using HT.Bank for its website.
I am unsure why this bank chose MYHB as its acronym rather than HTMN for HomeTown Minnesota. Frankly, I am not really sure why it chose to change its domain name when it updated its website.
In a blog post, here’s what the bank wrote about its decision to change its domain name:
New “dot-bank” domains are being adopted by many banks worldwide, including HomeTown Bank, to provide greater security to bank customers and website visitors. Consider it our “online stamp of trust” for our banking website. When the transition to myht.bank is complete, HomeTown Bank customers can be assured that when they visit our website, or communicate with us electronically at our new emails (@myht.bank), enhanced security and verification requirements are in place in order to reduce the risk of cyber threats and enable us to continue to build on our highly trusted secure environment.
In my opinion, moving to an off-brand .Bank domain name will end up being confusing for clients. This is particularly the case if their client-base happens to be older and less familiar with .com-alternative extensions. I could see the utility with moving to a brand match domain name like HomeTown.Bank, but moving to another acronym domain name on a new extension could end up causing confusion.