45. All It Takes Is Trust

Photo: The Trust card provides savings on everyday expenses. Source: Samuel He

You could open a savings account with digital bank Trust faster than it takes to cook a cup of instant noodles.

Three years in the making, Trust Bank was set up by FairPrice Group, NTUC Enterprise and Standard Chartered, and launched by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong in September 2022.

Why would the three shareholders invest $400 million in a digital bank to serve a relatively small and well-banked population here? Competition here is fierce enough as it is.

“We felt it would future-proof our ecosystem and accelerate our omnichannel strategy,” said Ms Elaine Heng, FairPrice Group’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, adding that a banking function would integrate a customer’s everyday financial habits into the FairPrice Group app. It would also provide more holistic insights on customers, creating a 360-degree view and an opportunity to serve customers better.

Besides providing savings on everyday expenses, Trust also simplifies banking by being transparent about its products and services. For example, there are no annual and foreign transaction fees.

One surprising fact is that seniors, who are traditionally seen as less tech-savvy consumers, form a key part of Trust’s target market. Around 10 per cent of its customer base is over 65 years old.

After just seven months, the bank had secured more than half-a-million customers, with seven in 10 referred by friends and family. Having made its mark in groceries and food offerings, FairPrice Group now aims to contribute to a new chapter in Singapore’s financial ecosystem.

Since its humble beginnings in a corner of Toa Payoh, NTUC FairPrice has become the quintessential Singaporean supermarket. The leap from a single store to a grocery giant is a tale of retail reinvention – a half-century journey that saw the cooperative confront crises and challenges, revamps and even robbers.

As it expanded and evolved, FairPrice never wavered from its core mission: to moderate the cost of living for consumers. It Takes a Great Deal - A Catalogue of FairPrice Group Stories encapsulates the birth of the consumer cooperative in 1973 and its transformation into a $4 billion food enterprise that is now called FairPrice Group.

Through 50 remarkable stories, we celebrate the people, products and places that mark significant milestones for the food retailer over the last five decades, charting its growth and successes in the past, present and into the future.