Q. What is TISA?A. Teachers Savings and Loan Society Limited (TISA) is a financial cooperative established in 1972 to provide savings and loans services to teachers and employees of the Department of Education Papua New Guinea. Approved as an authorized savings and loan society by the Bank of Papua New Guinea in accordance with the Savings and Loans Societies Act of 1995, since 2004 TISA’s membership can also include employees of public sector and statutory authorities.
When established, the society created a momentum for members to be actively involved in savings and to assist each other in times of financial need. Three regional offices were opened in 1980s, and current head office in Port Moresby, the capital of the country, was launched in 1995. While at the very beginning TISA had only 800 members, today it is the largest savings and loan society in the country with more than 47,000 members and 16 branches covering all provinces of the country.
The Society continues to work according its vision of “Not for Profit, Not for Charity, But for Service”. TISA strives to provide the most sustainable customer services to its members responding to their needs, educating them in responsible savings and borrowing behaviour, and developing its staff, products, processes and financial standing in the process.
Q. How does TISA Work?A. TISA provides a wide range of financial services to its members. The members make a regular fortnightly contribution to the society through a savings deposit, via direct payroll deduction from the Government Payroll system. TISA then invests and provides short term loans to its members. It also pays interest on member contributions. The Society’s funds are obtained from these member contributions.
The Savings and Loan Societies Act requires that 20 per cent of annual net operational profits must be put aside in a General Reserve Fund. All remaining operational surplus after this provision, is paid into members’ general savings accounts as additional interest.
TISA holds investments in various limited companies in Papua New Guinea, and owns a number of commercial properties. Dividends and rental income on properties contribute to the operational costs and returns in the form of interest and services back to members.
Q. How are decisions made in TISA?A. TISA’s Board is responsible and accountable to its members for the overall governance and management of the Society’s activities and performance. The Board operates in accordance with the powers and functions set out in the Savings and Loan Societies Act 1995 and carries out its powers and objectives.
Board members develop and implement the overall business strategy, provide proper oversight to accounting, fiduciary, regulatory and operational practices, monitor the effectiveness of the business strategies and the management, and develop and set policies on business and human resource issues.
For another interesting example of teachers working together in a cooperative way, see the Co-operative News article on Rah-e-Roshd educational cooperative in Tehran, Iran, which is currently running five schools across the city.
Spotlight Interviews with Cooperators is a series of interviews with cooperative leaders from around the world with whom ILO officials have crossed paths during the course of their work with cooperatives. The responsibility for opinions expressed in this interview rests solely with the interviewees, and the article does not constitute an endorsement by the International Labour Office.