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Know Our Co-ops series

Co-operatives have been an integral part of shaping Singapore, touching the lives of more than 1.4 million members. Co-operatives were birthed out of shared needs, responsibility and commitment to each other and to the society, and were amongst the earliest community self-help organisations to take root in Singapore.

The Know Our Co-ops series aims to let our affiliates to get to know each other better; appreciate each other's good work; and encourage conversations which can lead to collaborations. After all, we are in the same business to make a difference.

 

First Co-operative in Singapore - SGS Co-op

 

SGS Credit Co-opNinety-five years ago, 32 government officers set up the Singapore Government Servants’ Co-operative Thrift and Loan Society (now the Singapore Government Staff Credit Co-operative Society - SGS Co-op) with the objective of “preventing permanent indebtedness” among its members.  SGS Co-op has the distinction of being the first co-operative to be registered in Singapore on 7 October 1925, helping members to better manage their income and expenditure.

 

Back in those days, it was difficult for an average worker to obtain cash when he needed it desperately. Those who resorted to borrowing from money-lenders were burdened by exorbitant interest rates, and by the obtrusive presence of their creditors at their places of work. And so, the establishment of a credit co-operative such as Singapore Government Servants’ Co-operative Thrift and Loan Society was truly a novel and noble idea of relieving the financial woes of civil service workers.

 

SGS Co-op offers safe banking and affordable loans to employees in the civil service, statutory boards and government-owned companies. It reached out to workers such as the late Mr Han Juam Kwong, who was a member for 61 years (from 1954 to 2015). Mr Han recounted seeing how important the co-op was in situations when his colleagues needed money but could not secure loans from banks. Thanks to the loans from the co-operative, his colleagues were able to keep a roof over their heads and pay for their children’s needs. On a personal level, Mr Han took a loan of $3,000 in 1972 to pay for his wedding dinner and his bride’s trousseau. He recalled:

 

“I remembered using the money to purchase the traditional wedding set of five types of gold jewellery: a ring, bracelet, chain, earrings and a bangle. I also had to buy a lot of oranges, a suckling pig and two bottles of brandy for my wedding banquet.”

 

SGS Credit Co-op

Photo courtesy: Ced Han

 

Today, SGS Co-op has more than 7,000 members and continues to champion the values of co-operation and self-help, encouraging thrift and providing loans to its members at affordable rates.

 

With over nine decades of experience in the no frills, straightforward safe and sustainable banking business, SGS Co-op provides the necessary facilities for its members to save for a better future.

 

 SGS Credit Co-op

 Photo courtesy: SGS Co-op

 

It stays updated on the current interest rates that banks /financial institutions give, and leverages on economies of scale so that SGS Co-op is able to negotiate better returns for its members. 

 

SGS Co-op offers members ways to save that allow the flexibility to withdraw when the need arises such as subscription saving, specific deposit saving, and fixed/time deposit; or financial plans that enable members with reserves to invest for higher interests.

 

The co-operative also helps 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 wage earners 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.

 SGS Credit Co-op

 Photo courtesy: SGS Co-op

 

 

As a dependable financial support to its members, surpluses of the co-operative are ploughed back to the members with value-added benefits. SGS Co-op members get to enjoy dividends, hospitalisation benefits, educational awards/bursaries, recruitment incentives, loyalty benefits, and subsidies for tours, annual dinner and dance.

 

With its vision to be a caring and reliable credit co-operative, its mission to encourage thrift and help members to save for a bright future is as strong today as it was 95 years ago and for many good years ahead. First co-operative, first to save.

 

  SGS Credit Co-opSGS Credit Co-op   Photo courtesy: SGS Co-op

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Singapore National Co-operative Federation
510 Thomson Road #12-02
SLF Building, Singapore 298135
Email: [email protected]
Tel (65) 6602 0747, Fax (65) 6259 9577

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