TCC was established in 1928 to serve the employees of the Oriental Telephone Company (it was known as the Oriental Telephone Company Thrift and Loan Society). The model for Thrift and Loan Societies was introduced by British colonial administrators and based on similar societies introduced elsewhere in the old British Empire. In the early 1920s, Singapore and Malaysian banking systems were very much in their infancy and it was nearly impossible for an average worker to obtain credit. Without access to credit many had taken loans from unscrupulous private financiers commonly known as “loan sharks”. These “loan sharks” employed “hatchet” men to make collections from borrowers who were late with their loan repayments. To avoid harassment and physical intimidation from these people, employees often failed to turn up to work. Thrift and Loan Societies provided participating Members with a safe repository for savings and gave them access to credit at affordable interest rates.
As non-profit institutions, Thrift and Loan Societies returned any surplus to Members in the form of an annual dividend.
In this new Millennium, many citizens still find access to credit at reasonable interest rates difficult or impossible to find. This is particularly so if the borrower earns an “average” salary or the borrower has no collateral to offer. The bureaucratic nature of large and profit driven financial institutions also discourages flexibility and compassion in lending policies. Borrowers often find that when they are most in need, the commercial banks and finance companies are least likely to help them. Similarly many of these same financial institutions discourage saving by penalising account holders with small account balances.
TCC continues its long tradition of encouraging thrift with fair rates of interest on savings and investments and providing members with access to credit when they need it.
Some members of TCC participate more actively than others. Co-operatives in Singapore were founded by groups of volunteers. Volunteerism remains the foundation on which co-operatives are built and sustained. As a member you can become more involved by helping to spread the good news about TCC and recruiting members. Volunteers who perform this kind of work are called TCC Member Representatives. Being a TCC Member Rep. is like joining a social club where you can meet like-minded people and enjoy tangible and intangible rewards for your participation.