As I planned for this First of Everything series which aims to showcase the rich history of Singapore’s co-operative heritage, I begin to discover more about the history of co-operative movement in Singapore that tugged my heart for its calling. As we find out more which is the first co-opreative in Singapore today, let us also remember that only through a common purpose, ones can reach the goals together as ONE!
It was more than 85 years ago, when the first local co-operative was registered in Singapore. Prior to its current name, Singapore Government Staff Credit Co-operative (SGSCC) Society was registered as Singapore Government Servants’ Co-operative Thrift and Loan Society on 7th October 1925. The Society is open for membership to all staff who are employed in the Civil Service, Statutory Boards and Government Linked Companies.
Championing the values of co-operation and self-help, the primary reason for the founding of SGSCC, was to encourage thrift, as well as to lend a helping hand to members with small loans at affordable rates to prevent permanent indebtedness.
Objectives of the establishment of SGSCC:
1) Promote savings
2) Maximize financial growth
3) Provide financial security
4) Receive FD for better returns
5) Promote financial resilience
6) Offer loans at reasonable interest rates
7) Promote family membership and other privileges
With over eight decades of experience in the no-frills, straightforward safe and sustainable banking business, SGSCC provides the necessary facilities for their members to save for a better future. It stays updated on the current interest rates that the banks and other financial institutions pay their clients, and leverages on economies of scale so that SGSCC is able to negotiate better returns for their members.
Believing in “Think Big, Start Small”, SGSCC offers members three ways to save that allow the flexibility to withdraw in times of need: Subscription Saving, Specific Deposit Saving, and Fixed/Time Deposit. Members with extra savings may also place their money with the society other their Fixed/Time Deposit to earn higher interests.
Members have trust in SGSCC for handling their money as they know their savings are secured based on the following reasons:
- The society is regulated by The Registry of Co-operative Societies of Singapore (Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports)
- The requirements to have accounts audited by qualified auditors.
- The Management Committee is responsible for affairs of the society.
- Full-time staff are ready to serve members queries.
At the same time, SGSCC assists members who are in financial need by granting loans for purposes such as education, renovation and medical, which can help to relieve the financial burden of a typical wage earner whose salary is their only source of income. Loans are made on reasonable terms with lower interest rates (compared to most financial institutions), as well as flexible repayment period of up to 48 months to facilitate better cash flow management.
As a dependable financial support to its members, surpluses of the co-operative are ploughed back to the members with value-added benefits that are catered for the man-in-the-street, such as:
- Dividends. (For example, in 2010, members received 3% dividend in their subscription capital)
- Hospitalisation benefits
- Educational Awards and Bursaries
- Incentive Payment – Recruitment
- Loyalty membership benefit
- Subsidised Tours
- Subsidised Annual Dinner & Dance
With its vision to be a caring and reliable credit co-operative, SGSSC also strives to build a strong bond between members and the Society, so as to instil a sense of belonging to its members.
Know of anyone who is employed in the Civil Service, Statutory Boards and Government Linked Companies? Spread the word of SGSSC so that all are able to enjoy such assistance!