With so many financial institutions, deciding which one to trust with your money can take time. VyStar is one of the largest credit unions in Florida. It offers a wide range of services and benefits to its more than 900,000 members nationwide. It provides exceptional service, rates, and free accounts to help members reach their financial goals.

The credit union was founded in Florida in 1952 as JAX Navy Federal Credit Union and was established at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville to serve the financial needs of military service members, civil service employees, and their families. In 2002, it became VyStar Credit Union.

The credit union has 69 branches in Florida and Georgia, with more on the way. Membership is available to residents who live or work in 49 Florida counties and 29 counties in Georgia. Former and current military members and their families are eligible for membership. 

In 1982, it debuted its first ATM. Now it has over 20,000 surcharge-free ATMs in branches and retailers throughout the United States, like Target, Walgreens, and CVS. To ensure member satisfaction, it employs over 2,000 people and makes representatives available daily through a contact center. Members can also contact the credit union using the live chat feature on its website. 

Why should someone consider the credit union? The financial institution’s accounts don’t have minimum balance requirements nor charge monthly service fees. Its free checking account pays interest, too, which makes it an attractive choice for people looking to make intelligent financial decisions.

It also makes its employees a priority. According to Brian Wolfburg, president and CEO of VyStar, “Our employees help our members get their banking done. They support our efforts to be a community leader and impact the world around us. And they challenge us to grow, to innovate, and to evolve. Simply put, our employees are what separate [us] from other financial institutions and are the reason why we continue to grow and improve as an organization.”

Wolfburg added, “We are proud of the strides we have made as an organization to show our appreciation for everything our employees do for our members. And as we move forward, we will continue to seek out new ways to ensure [it] is a benefit to our employees, members, and the communities we serve.”

Strong Financial Performance

The credit union’s net income in 2022 was $73.3 million, and its net worth ratio was 9.03%, which is strong by National Credit Union Administration standards. Credit unions need to have a net worth ratio of at least 7% to be considered well capitalized. 

“One of [the credit union’s] main objectives is to remain a recognized and reliable borrowing source. During 2022, we disbursed more than $3.1 billion to our members, helping them buy autos and homes and refinance existing higher-rate mortgages,” stated an audit committee chair.

The chair continued, “In 2022, gross loans to members — including mortgage, automobile, credit card, and business loans — reached $9.5 billion. We experienced strong member growth in 2022, including some of our highest quarters of growth on record. By the end of the year, the credit union was serving 866,032 members with assets of $13.7 billion and was managing investments of $1.2 billion through VyStar Investment Services.”

VyStar Member Benefits and Products

The financial institution’s purpose is to “Do Good.” It accomplishes that every year by donating millions of dollars to hundreds of nonprofit organizations. Members get low fees, great rates, and excellent service. For those who want to save their money efficiently, it offers certificates of deposit and money market accounts. Its investment services exist to help members establish a plan to build their savings.

Free financial counseling is available for members to help them make the most of their money management. Additionally, its VyStar Perks program offers members the opportunity to get discounts on tickets to popular local events and venues, including VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Orlando Solar Bears hockey, and Florida State University athletics. 

Its military roots run deep, and it remains committed to supporting military members and families. For example, the Military Heroes Mortgage Program offers a unique mortgage “created with our heroes, for our heroes,” according to the credit union. 

The financial institution’s Visa credit cards include fraud monitoring, emergency assistance, and purchase protection. It also provides debt consolidation services that allow members to transform various debts into one convenient monthly payment.

It’s never too soon to learn how to best manage one’s money. The financial institution created the High School Branch Program, which helps educate 18 high schools across north Florida. Over 106,000 students have been involved in the program, and more than 1,800 students have participated in paid internships. The credit union also created the High School Debit Card Give Back Program, which gives back 5 cents to each participating school — up to $10,000 annually — when members use the school-branded debit card.

It has members covered when it comes to insurance, connecting them with hundreds of dependable carriers that can cover everything from car insurance to home and rental insurance. The credit union’s adjustable-rate mortgage offers members lower interest rates than an average fixed-rate mortgage. There’s also up to 5,000 in closing costs or a 0.25% rate discount on mortgages.

The financial institution’s mortgage loan officers are there to help simplify the homebuying process. It offers a construction-to-permanent home loan for members building a residence, which is a single-loan close. It covers from breaking ground to final closing and everything in between.

Members interested in a home equity line of credit or loan can use the equity in their home, with the credit union’s competitive rates, to finance things like college or a dream vacation, or even to consolidate debt. Home loan refinancing helps members lock in lower interest rates or pay off a home loan earlier than expected.

The credit union offers auto loan refinancing, which can help members reduce monthly payments. It also provides auto loans with no payments for 90 days to make the car-buying process less stressful. Members looking to own an RV, boat, motorcycle, or ATV can make those dreams a reality through its adventure loans. With the added perk of no payments for up to 90 days, members can embrace their adventure worry-free and create unforgettable memories.

The credit union states, “At VyStar, we go beyond financing. We strive to make the entire process seamless and hassle-free. Our straightforward application process and quick loan decisions ensure that you can focus on the excitement of planning your adventure rather than financing details. We also believe in providing you with options, which is why we offer financing and refinancing options, giving you the flexibility to customize your loan according to your specific needs.”

By Manali