UNC Charlotte’s Student Advisory Board members prepare to graduate
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Campus branch’s board takes real financial experience into post-college life
Charlotte, N.C. (4/29/14)—Part of Charlotte Metro Credit Union’s (CMCU) mission is to help members become financially sound. The earlier people master the basics, the more secure their financial futures are likely to be. In 2010, CMCU won the bid to open a branch on UNC Charlotte’s campus to provide financial services and education to the college community. The campus branch is one important way CMCU fulfills its mission to educate young people.
Charlotte Metro’s UNC Charlotte branch has a Student Advisory Board comprised of nine students selected through a competitive application and interview process. Six members of the current board are expected to graduate in May with degrees in business, economics, finance, and accounting.
“Our Student Advisory Board offers perspectives on products and services relevant to their peer group,” said Susan Coughlin, Electronic Delivery & Member Retention Manager, a certified credit counselor and adviser to the Student Advisory Board. “Our initial intent for the board was to help us develop ways to reach UNC Charlotte students. But we realized some of the board’s recommendations could be applied throughout the credit union. We want to serve all members of Gen Y—not just the university students.”
The current board has brought a renewed focus to the financial issues that concern young people—renter’s insurance, for example.
Board member Kolby Dougherty is earning a double major in accounting and finance with a concentration in risk management and insurance. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in accounting after graduation from UNC Charlotte. Dougherty says his board experience has given him a head start in business. “I’ve learned how to convey my ideas and not be hesitant about expressing my thoughts,” he said. He’s also enjoyed seeing how decisions get made and “the thought processes behind those decisions.”
Nicole Hoffman, another board member, is a finance major who has concentrated in risk management and insurance and is working toward a Management Information Systems (MIS) minor. Hoffman said she and her peers have shared ideas with CMCU staff about “what a college student expects in a financial services company.”
“I was able to learn insights from others my age as to what they expect in a financial services company and how to apply that to Charlotte Metro's techniques for appealing to younger generations,” Hoffman said. “When I have spoken about what we do on the Student Advisory Board in job interviews, companies are very impressed,” she continued. She said the experience has taught her about the importance of marketing the right product to the right segment and about the importance of listening to and appreciating everyone's opinions.
The board meets regularly to discuss credit union operations and to offer their perspective on products and services college students and young people want. The Student Advisory Board has also had the opportunity to meet with CMCU’s senior management team, including COO Nicol Matthews.
“We encourage board members to learn about credit union operations,” said Coughlin. “Each of four learning sessions during the year focuses on strategic planning associated with product and service development. We’ve discussed deposit accounts, loans, online banking and marketing. It’s always a two-way dialogue. We learn from the students, and they learn from us.”
Applications are now being accepted for service on the board next year. Service is for a one-year term.