In our Faces of Co-operators series, we speak to young co-operators who share their passion for promoting the well-being of the communities where we live and work.

We are privileged to have Sharon, Humairah and Limei from AUPE Credit Co-operative Limited (ACC) with us in this Faces of Co-operators Series.

Hi! I am Sharon, 25 years old, and have been working at AUPE General Services as an Executive since 2013. I follow up with members regarding their loans such as conducting loan and credit assessments before the credit officer takes over. It can be quite stressful as I am uncertain if I will be able to collect the principle amount on behalf of ACC. It is difficult to get members to come down physically to pay the loan due to various reasons. However, it is always satisfying to see the members become debt-free. There was once where a member was distressed to receive a legal letter for not paying his prolonged debt and he felt relieved and appreciative of our services after we discussed his loan repayment plan with him.

Having no prior financial background, my head of department encouraged me to take up the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants course through the Study Award by Singapore National Co-operative Federation after working in AUPE for 3 years. Despite the challenges in juggling between work and studies, I am thankful for the opportunity to upgrade myself to meet the changing work environment so that I can continue to contribute to the Co-operative and the finance industry.

Limei and Humairah posing for a photo (Left to right)

Hi! I am Limei, 23 years old, working at AUPE Credit Co-operative as an Executive Assistant since 2015. Both Humairah and I serve the walk-in members and process online withdrawal requests. I have to instruct the banks to deduct the amount from the members’ account to repay their loans monthly through GIRO while Humairah will have to ensure that we receive the funds correctly based on the instructions given and update payment to the members’ account accordingly. Whenever I go for roadshows and present to the crowd, I will get butterflies in my stomach. Despite the shyness, I feel that it is important to be able to share with the rest about our services so that more will benefit!

Hello! I am Humairah, 27 years old, working at AUPE Credit Co-operative as an Executive since 2013. Multi-tasking skills have to be very strong for my job! I have to serve the walk-in members and check the funds received from different payrolls for monthly deduction into the members’ accounts. Checking of the deduction amount has to be thorough and it can get taxing at times to make such updates while attending to the walk-in members. Before this job, I was quite an introvert. I have since gained confidence, boldness and courage over time to share about AUPE’s services to the many different customers that I meet.  We also get to rotate our roles so that we will be able to learn different scope of work.

What is your first impression of AUPE?

Sharon: It’s a small team of 50 employees for a big company.

Limei and Humairah: We thought it’s just a union but it also has a co-operative that provides loans, saving and other services.

When your friends and family found out that you are working in AUPE, what did they say or ask? What is your reply to them?

All: What is AUPE? What does it stand for?

Sharon: But I explained to them that it’s like a bank, to help public servants.

 Limei: Same, like a bank, but better rates.

Humairah: Licensed moneylenders (laughs).

There is a stigma that millennial belong to the job-hopping generation. What makes you stay in your job for more than 2 years?

Sharon: I have been working in AUPE for 5 years! The environment and colleagues are very important as I see them every day.

Humairah: Agree with Sharon! What made me stay in AUPE for 5 years as well is my colleague and the environment. I will be collecting my long-term service award this year and I am feeling the pride! My colleagues and I worked closely together and get along very well. We are able to approach one another to resolve any conflicts without bearing any grudges.

Limei: I feel appreciated working in AUPE as my work is recognised by the management. I also feel the satisfaction after receiving positive feedback from the members.

All: Our management gave each of us the opportunity to be in the planning committee for our year-end activity. We get to propose various activities such as overseas retreat, baking challenge, etc. Through all the activities, we get to interact and bond with people of different departments.

What do you wish for people to know about AUPE?

Limei: We used to only serve members of the public sector. Now, our services are extended to private sector, so people working in the private sector can take up loans with us.

Humairah: We enhanced the members’ standard of living other than providing loans for them.  Some of the members were at their wits’ ends when they approached us for assistance. Being on the ground, I am like a middle man to relay the members’ difficulties to our management to see how else we help meet the needs of our members.

Sharon: By resigning from AUPE Credit Co-operative, it doesn’t mean that your union membership will be revoked.

What is your take on the quote: “No money, no talk”?

Sharon: If you have money, you will have a lot of friends surrounding you. But if you were to approach your friends for money, they will avoid you first. Hence, no money no talk is true.

Humairah: I agree with the quote. In this day and age, it is all about money! When we are doing our job hunting, we will look at the salary range offered and more often than not, we tend to flaunt the things we buy in a social setting too.

Limei: To me, it is not really true because it depends on the relationship I have with the person. If the person is my closest friend who is really in need of money, I will lend the money.

How has working in your position helped change your perception of finance?

Limei: Most of our members are from the public sector and I would imagine that they can manage their finance well. But, I was shocked to know that there were quite a number of people in large debts, some even younger than me. It is a constant reminder to myself to avoid reckless spending and credit card debts.

Humairah: It reminded me to start saving earlier and not to use money which you don’t own.

What is your advice for the youth who are in financial debt?

Humairah: Please think about your future! Seek credit counsellors and start taking actions to clear your debts. It will be difficult to cope in the future if you are already in debt at such a young age.

Sharon: Not just the youths, but the older generation also seem to be in the same situation of being unable to pay their loans. Hence, no matter young or old, all need to know how to control their spending.

Limei: Seek credit counselling because they will help you to draft monthly repayment plan and structure to repay the debts.