Thu. Jul 25th, 2024

In 2022, VyStar Credit Union celebrated a milestone anniversary of 70 years in business. During the year, the financial institution in Jacksonville, Florida, honored its credit union legacy by serving over 875,000 members and offering support to hundreds of community partners. Each year it works to implement meaningful changes that better the experiences for those members.

VyStar owes its success to its valued members and the hard work and dedication of its employees and community partners. At its core, the credit union is committed to leading by example for the purpose of doing good. When everyone works together, the results are a fantastic accomplishment. 

“It is a tremendous honor and privilege to be a part of the lives of so many through the work that we do at our credit union,” stated Brian Wolfburg, president and CEO. 

In 2022, the credit union expanded its footprint. The annual report stated, “We crossed state lines for the first time with the opening of our Thomasville branch, our first full-service location in Georgia. Across the state in Savannah, the financial institution became the official financial services partner of the Savannah Ghost Pirates hockey team and Enmarket Arena.”

The financial institution opened more branches in Florida to better provide for the Panhandle and central Florida communities, including Titusville, The Villages, Melbourne, and Tallahassee.

It also continued to expand initiatives for military members, since the credit union was founded at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in 1952. Those initiatives included working with the Jacksonville Naval Museum to get the USS Orleck to northeast Florida. “Having the USS Orleck on the bank of the St. Johns River honors our community’s military heritage, as the ship now serves as a world-class destination for people of all ages,” stated the annual report. 

The credit union is recognized as a Top 10 Military Friendly Company by military marketing company VIQTORY for several reasons. It united with the U.S. Army’s Partnership for Your Success Program to offer soldiers job interviews and career chances as they enter civilian life. It also supports the creation of the National POW/MIA Memorial & Museum, which will honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep the United States free. It continued to offer helpful tools and resources to military members and their families throughout the homebuying process through its Military Heroes Mortgage Program.

Here’s a look back at what the credit union has accomplished. 

VyStar by the Numbers

  1. From 2021 to 2022, the credit union gained over 54,000 new members.
  2. It’s the No. 1 mortgage lender in northeast Florida. 
  3. It’s the 13th largest credit union in the United States.
  4. There are 75 Florida and Georgia counties in its field of membership.
  5. The financial institution works with 300 nonprofit organizations.
  6. The credit union has donated more than $4.8 million in community support.
  7. Its employees completed 8,000 volunteer hours.
  8. It made $81,000 in charitable donations to community partners.
  9. The credit union served on 134 nonprofit boards.
  10. It provided 13 free days for the public at local attractions.
  11. The credit union offered $150,000 in free access to the public and charitable donations.

Throughout 2022, the credit union fortified existing partnerships and instituted new ones. VyStar’s annual report stated, “Monetary donations are just one form of giving. We extended our impact through thousands of hours of employee volunteerism, board participation, and mentoring.” 

Supporting Communities, Members, and Employees 

In 2022, its Good Is Everywhere celebration had three components: free days at popular local attractions, employee volunteerism, and philanthropic contributions. The purpose is to demonstrate its commitment to providing for the communities it serves in ways that benefit members and the public. 

Last year, the financial institution offered free admission to eight places worth seeing. Those were: Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Jacksonville Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, Museum of Science & History, Jacksonville Naval Museum and the USS Orleck, Cade Museum for Creativity & Invention, Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, and Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.

More than 100 employees participated in the five volunteer activities, which took place at: Feeding Northeast Florida, The Arc Jacksonville, Gainesville Fisher House, Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, and Tech Sassy Girlz in Orlando. 

The credit union worked with its community partners to establish enjoyable and accessible occasions for its members via the VyStar Perks program. The financial institution’s annual report stated, “Members can enjoy special discounts, rewards, and more at many of the top attractions across the communities we serve.”

The credit union celebrates diversity in the communities it serves, committed to establishing accessible opportunities for all. For example, in 2022, it supported the Unity of Eatonville Federal Credit Union. Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church members founded it as the first credit union created in the United States’ oldest Black-incorporated municipality, Eatonville, Florida. The financial institution supports financial wellness and community development for residents of Eatonville.

Additionally, more than 600 of the credit union’s employees from 11 VyStar Resource Groups led events, charitable initiatives, and giving opportunities to establish a more equitable world. 

A few of their philanthropic initiatives included a speaker series hosted by a number of its resource groups that covered topics such as career and leadership development and breast cancer awareness. The resource groups participated in Martin Luther King Jr. Day parades and charitable opportunities in Orlando and Jacksonville. They also collaborated at a playhouse build event through a partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville.

Setting Up Students for Future Financial Success

VyStar understands that the best way to establish thriving communities is to empower students with financial knowledge. Its annual report states, “Our High School Branch Program, which provides students with hands-on training and on-the-job experience, impacts thousands of students each year at its 18 locations.” It launched the Corporate College Internship Program, which offers 14 college-level internships in multiple departments. It hosted over 1,800 paid student internships and hired 66 student graduates full time.

In 2022 it started the High School Debit Card Give Back Program. The high schools involved in the program get a personalized debit card emblazoned with the school logo. As part of the program, the credit union donates 5 cents, up to $10,000 annually, to the corresponding school for purchases made with that school’s debit card.

By Manali