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Visions Enlists Students To Help Meet The Needs Of Future Spenders

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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -

What do college students spend their money on? How much do they spend, when, and where? Visions Federal Credit Union has formed a Student Advisory Council to find out the answers to those questions.

The partnership with SUNY Broome students is designed to be mutually beneficial. Visions is offering up financial advice, and, in return, students are helping them understand how a new generation views financing. 

"It's really a two way street," says Derek Meier, a student on the council.

"I'm like a sponge when I'm around them. How do they view finances? How do they manage their money? Do they manage their money?" says Mandy DeHate, AVP Marketing with Visions FCU.

Tuition, textbooks, and housing are some of the biggest expenses students face, but Meier says it's the little things that add up the most.

"It's not even the $500 checks you're writing... It's the really small parts of life that add up really quickly," says Meier.

That includes electronics, entertainment, and food. 

And as for what they need from financial institutions? DeHate says the trend she sees is a fear of credit cards due to lack of education surrounding them. 

"They are very credit card phobic," says DeHate, "But they need to understand the importance of building credit and that if they don't feel comfortable with the amount they're approved for, they can always set that lower, at say a $500 limit if that's more manageable."

There are currently 8 students participating in the council, dishing out information that the credit union can implement to better serve people like Meier.

"The demographic that we served 50 years ago is different than the demographic coming out of SUNY Broome," says Maggie Cubic, Visions Community Education Coordinator.

What they want is a little surprising to professionals.

"Most of them, I think all of them, said that they prefer to have in person conversations with representatives when it comes to talking about their finances," says Cubic.

Not email, not via online chats on their smartphones. 

"That was kind of eye-opening," says Cubic.

There are sure to be a few more surprises as students continue to give their feedback in the new year.