The National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) was formed by credit union pioneers who believed that the task of co-op development lies primarily in the hands of the private sector. These leaders believed in self-help and in the idea that people in poverty need to create opportunities for themselves to improve their economic well-being. As early as the 1950’s to 70’s, co-op sector leaders were aware that in order to succeed they could not rely on government alone. Instead, co-ops have to be driven and patronized by their members and it is only through co-op education that this level of member patronage and responsibility can be established.
In the 1950’s to 70’s, a large number of primary co-operatives formed five regional co-op training centers (secondary cooperatives). In 1977, the five regional training centers formed NATCCO, then known as the National Association of Training Centers for Co-operatives, to coordinate the trainings and educational services for cooperatives at the national level. NATCCO also served as the voice of co-ops in the country.