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Acleda Bank’s current logo in Phnom Penh yesterday. Insert, Ministry of Economy and Finance logo. Wikimedia commons
Acleda Bank’s current logo in Phnom Penh yesterday. Insert, Ministry of Economy and Finance logo. Wikimedia commons Hong Menea

Bank ordered to replace its logo

ACLEDA Bank, Cambodia’s largest bank in terms of assets, will have to shell out millions in the next three weeks to comply with a Council of Ministers decision last Friday that the private financial institution must redesign and replace its logo on all company materials and products to differentiate itself from the Ministry of Economy and Finance, a senior bank executive said yesterday.

Acleda Bank CEO In Channy said the bank would shelve the mythological golden bird insignia it has used since 2003 when it became a commercial bank for a watered-down logo comprised purely of English and Khmer script.

He said his bank would comply with the government’s demands, which includes dropping the logo on all of its 259 locations in Cambodia, 41 branches in Laos and one in Myanmar. It will also change the logo on an additional 353 billboards across the region and all 1.7 million bank cards that the financial institution has issued.

The rebranding operation will cost about $3.5 million, or about 3 percent of the bank’s 2016 net profit, Channy estimated. He insisted, however, that the change of logo would not have any negative impacts on the bank’s operations.

“Customers know Acleda very well and trust our reputation as a professional institution,” Channy said, adding that he already informed shareholders and business partners about the imminent change.

“We are also satisfied with the new logo as we inserted Khmer script, so we can bring Cambodia’s identity to foreign countries and international markets,” he said.

The government’s justification over the change in the logo was handed down last Friday after the Council of Ministers concluded that the mythological golden bird on Acleda Bank’s logo was too similar to the logo of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and that the public was confused as to whether or not the bank was a state institution.

Phay Siphan, spokesman of the Council of Ministers, explained yesterday that many Cambodians who borrowed money from Acleda Bank were incorrectly led to believe, due to the similarities of the logos, that they were indebted to the government.

The government must work to avoid this public confusion, and requiring Acleda Bank to change its logo is an example of how it can clear up the confusion, he said.

“We observed that people said they had borrowed money from the government while in fact they had taken loans from private institutions,” he said.

“The government doesn’t want to have to be involved in these issues because it should be the responsibility of loan-takers to understand what a private institution is,” he said.

The Council of Ministers decision follows an announcement by the central bank last Wednesday that said all financial institutions are required to visibly declare that they are a “Private Institution” and warned that it has reason to believe that some banks and microfinance institutions were using “propaganda” to influence consumer behaviour.

“The National Bank of Cambodia has observed that there are some bad people who do propaganda by cheating the public and who say that financial institutions in Cambodia are state-owned institutions, telling borrowers that they are not required to repay their debts,” the announcement said.

“Such propaganda negatively affects the development of Cambodian financial sector,” it added.

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