VyStar CEO Brian Wolfburg Talks Spotting Opportunities and Driving Projects

VyStar CEO Brian Wolfburg Talks Spotting Opportunities and Driving Projects

Felix Yim 05/06/2023
VyStar CEO Brian Wolfburg Talks Spotting Opportunities and Driving Projects

Brian Wolfburg is the president and CEO of VyStar Credit Union in Jacksonville, Florida.

His ascension to the C-suite inside Florida’s second-largest credit union wasn’t by happenstance. “Over my career, I have been someone who does spot opportunities and drives projects and works to achieve results,” he told the Jacksonville Daily Record. 

At VyStar, he recognized opportunities for improvement. “That was simply based on a fresh set of eyes on the organization,” said Wolfburg, who has been leading the credit union since 2017. Since then, it’s eliminated over half of its service fees to members, expanded its ATM network, and added to the call center’s days and hours of service.

“One of my areas of focus when I arrived at VyStar was to ensure we were one of the best places to work in the area,” he stated. As a result, the credit union has worked to improve employee benefits and company culture.

It was founded as Jax Navy Federal Credit Union at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in 1952 and became VyStar Credit Union in 2002. However, the financial cooperative has always remembered its roots. Brian Wolfburg said the credit union “had a strong relationship with the city ever since [it] started [over] 70 years ago.” Its commitment to the community, members, military, and Jacksonville makes the credit union an excellent private partner to the public and city entities. It’s been embraced as a great place to do banking.

The CEO has guided the credit union through exciting opportunities and challenging times over the past few years, including the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was an unexpected challenge, but we came through it very well,” Wolfburg shared. 

The credit union transitioned to a completely remote workforce within two weeks of the pandemic's start: “We’ve done well in the virtual.” Wolfburg understood the importance of balancing working from home and the corporate locations “since the latter has a great advantage in bringing people together and building relationships,” he said.

“I’m proud to say our team didn’t lose track of anything and kept forward servicing our members and stepping up for our community,” he added. During that time, Wolfburg oversaw numerous projects, and the credit union had more Paycheck Protection Program loans than any other Florida-based credit union. It also worked with the government to create the City of Jacksonville Emergency Loan Program. 

“Since before the pandemic VyStar wanted to disperse the contact center and expand across the state with better business continuity disaster recovery,” he said. “This huge project we had in mind ended up happening almost overnight for us.”

Brian Wolfburg noted that the credit union “gave back to the community by joining our partners to aid nonprofits and cultural venues in our community. We collaborated with [nonprofit] Rethreaded to provide masks to the city’s hospitals and to Jacksonville residents.”

Traits of a Successful CEO


Growing up in Buffalo, New York, Wolfburg felt drawn to the corporate world even at a young age. As a young entrepreneur, he had many jobs, including launching a local newspaper and selling homemade chocolates during the holidays. “I knew I loved business,” he recalled. “There was no question that was what I would pursue.” 

He’s held positions at large international banks in London, Hong Kong, and South Korea throughout his career. He worked for a similar-sized credit union in Alaska before moving to the Sunshine State. Since he became CEO, the credit union has been active in the mergers and acquisitions space. “We are pushing regulatory changes at a federal level so we can continue to acquire and invest,” he said. 

In his leadership position at VyStar, Brian Wolfburg strives for complete transparency and accessible communication. “We have open communication with our team and are very transparent with our decision process,” he stated. 

“During these hard times, we would communicate our struggles, which were, in many cases, similar to those of our employees. We know how much stress uncertainty can give, so we don’t hide behind corporate-speak; on the contrary, we communicate clearly and often with our team.” 

The credit union utilizes many communication channels, such as employee newsletters, town halls, direct emails, and face-to-face interactions. The CEO said the credit union “values our team as individuals and sees them as our corporate family, which is why we provide the best-in-class benefits and do everything we can to ensure a great working environment.”

It considers its employees to be its most important asset. “Our employees help our members get their banking done,” stated Wolfburg. “They support our efforts to be a community leader and impact the world. And they challenge us to grow, innovate, and evolve. They are what separates the credit union from other financial institutions and are the reason why we continue to grow and improve as an organization.”

CEO Brian Wolfburg: Why VyStar Is the Go-To Place To Do Banking

The credit union embraces its role as a vigorous community leader and trusted financial institution. It’s focused on improving the lives of its members and their communities. Everything the credit union does is inspired by its core values to do good and lead by example. It believes in the credit union philosophy of people helping people. 

According to Wolfburg, the credit union “gives above-average rates, lower fees, and lower loan rates that allow people to live better lives.” It also interacts with the communities where its branches and members are located by supporting organizations. For example, he said the credit union is doing its part “to help the city and encourage others to move [to Jacksonville] and bring more jobs.” 

Brian Wolfburg is committed to growing the credit union in size and geographically while continuing to seek ways to get involved and engaged with the community. 

“The city can rely on us to step up and ask others to follow and help build a better community,” said Wolfburg. “A resurgence is taking place in downtown Jacksonville. It is invested in the city by supporting various projects around town, such as the Emerald Trail, the Museum of Science & History, and the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. The area is growing at a fast pace, and as we get more national attention, competition and growth will continue to increase.”

The CEO stated that as the credit union “moves forward, we will continue to seek out new ways to ensure VyStar is a benefit to our employees, members, and the communities we serve.”

As VyStar continues to expand in Florida and Georgia, Brian Wolfburg will be a CEO to watch.

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Felix Yim

Tech Expert

Felix is the founder of Society of Speed, an automotive journal covering the unique lifestyle of supercar owners. Alongside automotive journalism, Felix recently graduated from university with a finance degree and enjoys helping students and other young founders grow their projects. 

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