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A man passes the head office of Sathapana Bank in Phnom Penh yesterday, which was recently stripped of its corporate logo. Pha Lina

Another bank’s logo on notice

Sathapana Bank has begun removing its logo from signage at some of its branches in preparation for a possible network-wide logo change – though it has not received any direct notification from the central bank that it must abandon its corporate branding, a bank executive said yesterday.

Lim Aun, acting CEO of Sathapana Bank, said while an announcement by the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) last week advised financial institutions to avoid using a lion or riel currency symbol in their logo, as it could lead to confusion with state bodies, it did not specifically require these private institutions to change their logos.

However, he said the bank – whose logo is a golden lion – had already taken action to prepare for the possibility.

“Until now, we are not clear whether or not we need to change [our logo], but there are signs that we need to prepare,” he said. “We cannot deny the government’s directives, so once there is a requirement for us to change we will do it.”

The NBC’s announcement on February 21 was part of a new government campaign aimed at raising public awareness to clarify that loans taken from banks and microfinance institutions are indebted to private institutions and not the government.

Acleda Bank, Cambodia’s largest bank in terms of assets, was the first financial institution singled out by the government to change its logo in order to differentiate itself from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, which also has a mythical golden bird in its logo. A bank official estimated that cost of the logo change at $3.5 million.

Less than a week later, Prasac Microfinance was ordered to replace its logo, which uses the symbol for riel currency, at an estimated cost of $1 million.

Sathapana Bank, a wholly owned subsidiary of Maruhan Japan Group, obtained its commercial banking licence in March 2016 following the successful merger of Maruhan Japan Bank Plc and local microlender Sathapana Ltd. The bank operates a network of 161 branches nationwide.

Aun did not provide an estimate of the cost in changing the bank’s logo, adding that it was too early to calculate a budget.

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