Brian Wolfburg joined Jacksonville-based VyStar Credit Union on Oct. 31 as president/CEO, succeeding Terry West, who retired. Wolfburg previously was COO for Alaska USA Credit Union. He’s making changes, including a high-profile move Downtown. VyStar intends to buy the 23-story SunTrust Tower and move its headquarters, now along Blanding Boulevard, and up to 700 employees there.
I had been in Alaska working for a similarly sized credit union for the past five to six years, most recently as their No. 2 position, the chief operating role. We had a change in our family, adopted a son, and while Alaska is a great place to live, we decided to get back down to the lower 48, closer to family, and found the opportunity at VyStar. We moved to Jacksonville about seven months ago specifically for this role.
I’m originally from upstate New York, just outside of Buffalo. I used to work for some of the largest international banks and spent time in London, Hong Kong and South Korea and then here in the U.S., worked out of Buffalo, New York, Denver and Seattle.
I was always very business-minded, more from an entrepreneurial perspective. When I was very young, I started a variety of businesses. I created local neighborhood newspapers, I made chocolate candies and sold them at the holidays, I worked for all my neighbors. I asked some of my friends to work for me and paid them to do things, so I knew I loved business. There was no question that was what I would pursue.
My predecessor and his leadership team have done an amazing job with the organization, built the connection with the community and left it in great shape in regard to the products and services and infrastructure and financial safety and soundness. That said, over my career I have been someone who does spot opportunities and drives projects and works to achieve results. I saw some opportunities for improvement, and that was simply based off a fresh set of eyes on the organization.
We achieved some quick results in renegotiating a lot of our contracts with our vendors, using the savings from those to improve our reach to members and eliminate a lot of our service fees. In fact, we eliminated over a half of our service fees to members in the last three to six months. We’re expanding our ATM network to be nationwide and expanding the days and hours of service for our call center. We’ve moved on to some bigger things with our organizational structure, long-term space planning, employee benefits improvements and core operating and technology improvements. We’re getting ready for continued growth in size and geographically.
I’ve gotten involved in JAX Chamber and JAXUSA Partnership and joined the Jacksonville Civic Council. We’ll continue to look for ways to get involved and engaged. We’ve built some good relationships with the leadership team at JASMYN and the Youth Crisis Center, trying to make sure that VyStar and my family and I get involved in the community and play a part in helping to make it better a place to live.
I’ve been married to my husband for about eight years. We adopted a son about two years ago. Our son, Asher, is 22 months old. He is a ball of energy. We spend a lot of time at swimming lessons, the beaches and pools and the parks. We also have three dogs. I love to run and I’m getting back into that when I can find the time and the weather cooperates.