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Banking watchdog spends $100K on TINY brand change

Lucy Dean
Image: ASIC
Image: ASIC

One of America’s most celebrated graphic designers, Milton Glaser once said there are three responses to a piece of design.

“Yes, no and WOW.”

Well, WOW is likely an apt response to the Australian banking watchdog, ASIC’s decision to spend around $100,000 on a tiny branding tweak.

First observed by the ABC, the branding changes appear to be a different font and slightly different text positioning.

Can you spot the difference?
Image: ASIC
Image: ASIC

According to the ABC, the corporate regulator began working on the design weeks after the Banking Royal Commission was announced in 2017.

It told creative agency Folk that it needed to be “respected. Not loved”.

“Strong. Accountable. Firm/fair.”

“Finger-on-the-pulse. Contemporary. Informed.”

“Vigilant. Transparent. Responsive.”

The ABC reported that creative development cost $43,000 and $60,000 was spent on design and asset development.

And it’s caused a stir on social media:
Royal Commission condemnation

It comes after the Royal Commission condemned ASIC as toothless against corporate misconduct that saw banks charge fees to dead customers, charge fees for no service and push customers into more expensive products.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne said this misconduct went “unpunished” by ASIC, as it sought to negotiate rather than pealise.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg echoed the Commissioner’s statements.

“This is clearly unacceptable and cannot continue,” Frydenberg said. “The findings here go to a culture of negotiation rather litigation.

“Too often the regulator would seek a negotiated outcome rather than take the next step to litigate and make them face court. Perpetrators got off too lightly.”

ASIC chair James Shipton said he welcomed the insights and that ASIC had already begun to address its problems.

“The royal commission report identified ASIC’s enforcement culture as the focus of change needed at ASIC,” he said in an official response.

“This focus accords with ASIC’s change agenda, that has included the adoption of our ‘why not litigate?’ enforcement stance, the initiation of our Internal Enforcement Review and the enhancement of our governance structures.”

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