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natcco2The National Confederation of Cooperatives or NATCCO Network is a story of transformation. It was established on January 23, 1977 in Cebu City by the five regional co-op training centers: Tagalog Cooperative Training Center (TAGCOTEC), Visayas Cooperative Development Center (VICTO), Bicol Cooperative Development Center (BCDC), Northern Luzon Federation of Cooperatives and Development Center (NORLUCEDEC), and Southern Philippines Educational Center for Cooperatives (SPECC). NATCCO originally meant National Association of Training Centers for Cooperatives. Its task was to coordinate the trainings and educational services for cooperatives at the national level. NATCCO transformed into a multi-service national co-op federation after the 1986 EDSA Revolution; the member regional training centers became multi-service co-op development centers. The acronym NATCCO became National Confederation of Cooperatives in 1989.

As NATCCO entered the year 2000, a study was conducted to determine the most viable structure for the network. A Structural Review Committee, composed mainly of primary cooperatives, recommended a restructuring from the three-tier to a two-tier federation; with a focus on financial intermediation. The first financial product was launched in 2002, the Liquidity Fund which started the Central Fund operations. In 2004, the NATCCO transformed into a two-tier federation, with primary co-ops as direct members. Its core services would be financial intermediation, education and allied services; other non-financial services would become subsidiaries.

Ten years after the 2004 decision, NATCCO is the largest federation in the Philippines in terms of geographical reach, membership, financial capacity, and array of services. Its 787 member co-ops have 3.4 million individual members; serviced through the 1,403 offices and more than 60 ATMs. The 787 co-ops in 77 provinces have combined assets of about P96 Billions. About 190 NATCCO staff run its offices in Santiago City, Baguio City, Naga City, Cebu City, and the Quezon City National Headquarters. In 2012, on its 35th year, NATCCO reaffirmed its ‘reason for being’ with a new Mission: “To Build the Socio-Economic Capabilities of Cooperatives Through the Delivery of Superior Financial Products and Allied Services.”
NATCCO is the first Philippine cooperative to have received and maintained three ISO certifications, in Quality Management, Environmental Health & Safety Management, and Occupational Health and Safety Management. It also has a certificate of compliance for Information Security from the NGO, ASSIST.

NATCCO’s advocacies include Gender Equality, Youth Development, Micro-enterprises, Disaster Risk Reduction & Management among co-ops, and Environmental Management.

Performance Highlights as of December 2014

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SERVICES & PROGRAMS

Education, Training & Consultancy

The NATCCO Networkwas established in 1977 to coordinate the trainings and educational services for cooperatives at the national level. Training continues to be a core service of the Network – aiming to equip co-op leaders in managing their organizations to become not just sustainable, but champions in their communities.

Treasury & Credit

Co-ops invest their money in secure, professionally-managed funds or obtain loans. This is one of the core services of NATCCO.

Information Technology

Ekoopbanker is a stand-alone financial management software specifically designed for the demands of cooperatives in accordance with the Cooperative Code of 2008 (RA 9520). It remains popular for many co-ops that have single offices or are located in areas with limited internet connection. 132 co-ops with 209 branches are using the stand-alone version.

Ekoopbanker Plus is an upgraded version that allows inter-cooperative and cooperative-bank transactions, which also supports ATM transactions, mobile banking, and POS transactions. Ekoopbanker Plus ensures fast and reliable automation, secures data and yet readily accessible to co-op management,

Pinoy Coop ATM enables co-ps to provide 24/7 electronic banking to “unbanked and underserved” rural communities. Since 2010, 65 ATM branches have been opened, operated and maintained by NATCCO’s IT Group.

Digibuy provides co-ops and their members affordable computers, tablets and cellphones. Digibuy is made possible through INTEL’sDigibayanihan Program.

Point-of-Sale. This device allows co-op mobile tellers/collectors to perform and record transactions on the field. Upon arrival at the co-op offices at the end of the day, the teller connects the POS device to download the day’s transactions into the computers.

This improves efficiency and decreases chances for fraud.

Mobile Banking. Virtually every Filipino adult today has a cellphone, which can be used in performing transactions. The NATCCO Network enables co-ops to let their memberstransact using their smart phones. This is especially useful in providing financial services to far-flung rural areas and islands.

Partners: Intel, The Channel Group, Diebold, Bancnet

Microfinance Innovations in Cooperatives.  Cooperatives – especially agricultural and Agrarian Reform Beneficiary (ARB) co-ops – lack management skills and capitalization to grow their social enterprise. The NATCCO Network partners with co-ops to provide training, supervision, and even capitalization to these co-ops. The MICOOP Group has opened 111 branches all over the country since the program began in 2006. Fifty (50) of the branches are ARB co-ops recommended by the Dept. of Agrarian Reform under MICARAS Program.
Partner: Dept. of Agrarian Reform, Bank IM Bistum Essen (Germany)

BEST PRACTICES

Networking & Advocacy

The NATCCO Network engages as many member co-ops in its three major advocacies:

Disaster Risk Reduction and Management ensures the ‘business continuity’ of co-ops even after disaster. Co-ops are encouraged to link up with local governments, NGOs, and their members so that they can be ready to help their communities, and minimize dependence on Government. Co-ops are taught how to established a DRRM Program in their operations

Gender Equality. Studies in Asian credit unions reveal co-ops that encourage equality have lower delinquency.

Social Performance Management. Co-ops are social enterprises that exist for the members’ “social, economic, and cultural needs and aspirations.” More than just earning money, co-ops must actually improve the lives of members.

Partners: NDRRMC, Local Government Units, CODE-NGO, Phil. Commission on Women, Coca-Cola Philippines

Conditional Cash Transfer

This is the National Government’s flagship anti-poverty program implemented by the Dept. of Social Welfare & Development. The NATCCO Network has worked for co-ops to be conduits and it has proven that co-ops are indeed can reach rural areas better. In 2014, 119 co-ops in Regions 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8 distributed P4.03 Billion in cash to 2.459 million beneficiaries. As of July 2015, this expanded to Metro Manila, with 65 co-ops distributing P2.536 Billion cash to 1.292 million beneficiaries.

Partner: Dept. of Social Welfare & Development

Aflatoun

NATCCO and qualified co-ops partner with public schools to train teachers how to include financial literacy in the curriculum. The kids deposits are placed in a special account in the cooperative. There are now 102 co-ops participating in Aflatoun, reaching 332,233 kids in 704 schools. Savings generated amounts to P88 Million.
Department of Education, Child Savings International (Netherlands)