man standing in office smiling

Headquartered in Port Moresby, Teachers Savings and Loan Society Ltd. (TISA), is a registered savings and loans society, also known as a credit union. The organisation is the largest of its kind in Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific, excluding New Zealand and Australia. For over two decades, TISA has been helmed by Group CEO Michael Koisen, whose extensive experience in the credit union industry has equipped him with proven skills in rescuing troubled financial institutions and leading them to prosperity.

In 1972, TISA was established to provide registered teachers and employees of the Department of Education with the opportunity to become actively involved in savings and to assist each other in times of financial need. In its earliest years, the Society had about 3,000 members and generated a total turnover of two million Papua New Guinean Kina per annum.

Today, TISA boasts a nationwide membership, including employees of both public and private institutions, who are served by branches in 17 provincial centres across the country. It continues to empower its members to engage with savings, provides them with financial assistance through affordable loan solutions, and invests in banking, finance, airlines, insurance, and properties.

Since its inception over five decades ago, TISA has evolved significantly, progressively utilising electronic channels to deliver faster and more convenient services. It has become the first non-bank financial institution and savings and loans society in the country to offer its members a debit card, called the YumiCard, enabling members to easily access their funds. Furthermore, the Society now offers a 24/7 help desk, ensuring that its customers can access the assistance they need, whenever they need it.

However, TISA’s journey to success has not always been easy. When Michael Koisen was invited to join the Society as CEO, it was under significant stress. Despite this, he was willing to take on the challenge, believing that he was equipped with the necessary skills to turn things around for the business. In the following months, he leveraged his experience to steer TISA out of statutory management and into prosperity, building it into a Group entity with subsidiaries in banking, multi-jurisdictional insurance, properties, and equity investments. As a result, it has grown into the largest and most successful credit union in Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific.

Throughout his 45-year career in the credit union industry, Michael has built an impressive track record for his ability to turn things around for the better. Having faced his fair share of difficulties growing up in a blue-collar family, he was determined to succeed in his professional life. At the age of 21, Michael’s CEO saw his potential and appointed him as Regional Manager, which enabled him to gain experience in the field of branch operations whilst learning about accounting, IT, banking, and finance. Later, he was called back into the head office and appointed IT Systems Administrator, managing the Core Banking Systems.

At the age of 34, Michael was offered the position of CEO, but the credit union business he was working for at the time was not in a good place. When he chose to accept the job, he was under no illusions and knew it would be difficult for the company to overcome such hurdles, but he was motivated by his genuine passion for helping the union’s members, who were ordinary people with low to medium income. Within 12 months, Michael had successfully led the business out of statutory management, which is a testament to his strength, determination, persistence, and consistency.

As a result of his enriching experience in the credit union industry, having worked across all aspects of operations, management, and governance, Michael possesses a multitude of skills and qualities that serve him well today. For example, despite his naturally introverted nature, he has honed his public speaking skills, business acumen, entrepreneurial skills, and a sharp eye for opportunities, all of which make him an exceptional CEO at TISA. It is no surprise that some young professionals in Papua New Guinea have affectionately labelled Michael ‘The Wolf’, whilst a number of his business acquaintances and colleagues have nicknamed him ‘Iron Mike’.

Another factor that makes Michael stand out as a leader is his clearly defined strategic purpose, which is to provide financial services that improve quality of life for individuals and communities across Papua New Guinea. Despite facing a number of barriers, he has always maintained a laser focus on this goal. Michael is committed to TISA’s clients, striving to gain an understanding of what they need and providing them with a solution. He works to demonstrate empathy in everything he does, putting himself in their shoes by relating their experiences with his own.

Michael believes that it is important for businesses of all kinds to have a clear purpose, whether it be to solve a problem or to fill a need, and that profit should only be a byproduct of its success in achieving its mission. He comments, “Organisations can still be profitable while caring for people and the planet. Profit is essential for sustainability but is not my primary driver.”

By promoting and advocating for a business model with social and environmental responsibility at its core, Michael hopes to strengthen the practice of values-based banking and lead the way for a financial system that drives social equity. Ultimately, he hopes that more organisations will contribute towards people’s prosperity and wellbeing whilst responding to the planet’s most pressing environmental issues. “To support our core values and vision, I was successful in my efforts for TISA Group to become a member of the Global Alliance for Banking, comprising a growing number of values-based banks in Europe, the US, Latin America, and Asia/Pacific,” Michael shares.

As a leader, Michael takes a situational approach to his role, striking a balance between people and productivity. He empowers his team to exercise judgement in strategic execution, encourages them to make business decisions within their authority, and holds them accountable for their work. Michael believes that his primary responsibility is to offer suggestions and recommendations, ensuring that all team members are paddling in the same direction, even if it is not always at the same speed. With trust and business integrity being a core element of all his interactions, he works hard to establish strong relationships with all stakeholders.

For his unparalleled work in leading TISA to success, Michael Koisen has been named Most Trusted Financial Services CEO in the APAC CEO of the Year Awards 2024. In the wake of this success, he looks towards a bright future. Michael’s primary ambition is that the Society will soon gain its full commercial banking license, after which he can begin building it into one of the largest commercial banks in Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific. He also plans to mentor his potential successors, encouraging them to stay true to TISA’s original purpose by focusing on helping ordinary people, families, and communities.

For business enquiries, contact Michael Koisen from Teachers Savings And Loan Society Ltd on their website –