Acleda Bank changed its 23-year-old logo and began replacing signage across the country on Friday at a cost of at least $3.5 million after the government said the design—a majestic, mythical bird encased in a circle—was too similar to that of the Economy and Finance Ministry’s, according to the bank’s president.
In Channy, who is also group managing director of Acleda, said he was initially notified about the order from the Economy and Finance Ministry on Tuesday and was given three weeks to complete the transition when the order went public on Friday.
He estimated the cost of replacing the logo on all the bank’s properties and products would total “no less than $3.5 million.”
The order came after Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier this month told all microfinance institutions to put up signs declaring they were private and not government-owned. Mr. Hun Sen said many people were falsely under the impression that any debt accrued from microfinance loans was state money, leading to resentment toward the government.
Acleda is the biggest bank in Cambodia, with 259 branches across the country, and several others overseas including 41 in Laos and six in Burma.
A press release by Acleda on Friday said it was a private-owned institution and “does not belong to the Royal Government of Cambodia at all.”
“To avoid public confusion, Acleda Bank Plc has changed its current logo to the new logo below,” it added.
As workers began to take down the old logos—a golden bird in a blue circle—in its place went up a simple circle encasing the bank’s name in Khmer and English.
The ministry’s logo is a less defined gold bird sitting on green leaves.
A press release on Friday from the Council of Ministers also called on relevant bodies, institutions and “especially the media” to help people “clearly understand that private banks and micro-finance [institutions] are 100 percent privately owned finance institutions and they do not belong to the state.”
It also explained why Acleda would need to immediately change its logo.
“‘Mythical Bird’ is a national logo that the Ministry of Economy and Finance is currently using,” it said.
Mr. Channy said the logo change would only amount to a short-term financial hit.
“It will not affect anything because the new logo also has Acleda” written on it, he said. “It will affect the expenses, because we did not plan to spend on it.”