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If Denan has his way…

Dr R Theyvendran, or Denan, is very deliberate when it comes to treating people - like family, and not as some means to some end.

Tcc Denan K“There are many stories I could tell you of the members we have ‘rescued’ from the brink of bankruptcy and enabled them to start again. Then, there are those who had contemplated suicide, and we offered them financial counselling and assistance to help pull them through their dark times,” the Chairman of the 44,000-member TCC Credit Co-operative Ltd said.

Besides promoting thrift and providing access to credit at affordable interest rates, the credit co-operative sees to it that annual surplus is optimised to benefit the members.

The Common Good Fund is utilised to offer cradle to grave benefits, such as like baby bonus, scholarship and bursary awards, marriage grant, handicap children fund, hospital grant, heart check-up subsidy, funeral grant and more.

The family-oriented TCC Credit Co-operative also has a group of 100-member representatives all over Singapore who give feedback to the co-operative if a member is unwell and needing help.

“Our general meeting has more than 3,000 attendees. We make it like an enjoyable affair with food and lucky draw prizes. We want our members’ families to join the TCC Credit Co-operative family. It is worth joining us,” said Denan.

“Each year, I challenge the team to come up with new initiatives that will benefit members, for instance, the University Bursary Award and the monthly birthday lucky draws.”

Much of this fire in the belly to do better was stoked while he was growing up as the eldest boy of 10 children. Denan’s father who came from Sri Lanka was the sole breadwinner and earned his keep as a civil servant in a land survey department. Life was tough.

Denan also has other ‘marks of suffering’ including landing himself in detention for three years when he was Singapore Airport Workers Union (SATU) unionist and later acquitted.

“I was completely innocent. I graduated from Changi prison to working in the Ministry of Defence, and our office was right below Mr Goh Keng Swee’s office,” Denan candidly said.

“I believe in karma. Since I turned out quite well in life, I try to do my part to assist my family members who may need help. Along the way, my blood veins just got extended and thicker.”

Co-operatives as people-centred enterprises, naturally resonated with him and he served in different leadership capacities in the Co-operative Movement including stints as SNCF First and Second Deputy Chairman, SNCF Credit Sector Chairman and more.


When it comes to growing the Co-operative, the well-respected businessman is just as purposeful. His working formula is:

  • Watch the bottom-line at all times
  • Increase revenue in different ways
  • Watch costs. Resist staff who ask for increment but cannot justify with their productivity
  • If there is a problem, look at the issue and not the person
  • Set new goals continuously and grow


“And don’t sit in the comfort of your chair and rely on the past creation of wealth,” he added. “We need to bring in more dynamic leaders with passion into the Co-operative Movement to grow.”


If Denan, the visionary leader with a Public Service Medal and many accolades under his belt, has his way, a TCC Credit Co-operative Bank will come our way. He bemoans that there are one too many restrictions imposed on credit co-operatives in Singapore that hinder growth. Malaysia, he pointed out, has co-operative bank(s).

“It is good to have the Registry of Co-operative Societies guiding us, setting standards and providing a framework. However, if over-regulated, co-operatives are unable to diversify and grow. Regulations cannot be made on a one-size-fits-all basis,” said the straight-talking leader.

“Innovation and corporate governance are not opposite sides of the pole. Corporate governance should account for innovation to facilitate progress. I feel that TCC Credit Co-operative has done precisely this over the years, and I hope we will continue to do so.”


 

Learning Tips:

  • Remember the core – co-operatives are here to help people
  • Watch top and bottom lines
  • Welcome dynamic people with passion into the movement to ensure growth

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