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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Advisory - VyStar CEO Brian Wolfburg: ‘I Was Always Very Business-Minded’

CEO Advisory

VyStar CEO Brian Wolfburg: ‘I Was Always Very Business-Minded’

Brian Wolfburg

Brian Wolfburg has served as president and CEO of VyStar Credit Union since Oct. 31, 2017. Leading the Jacksonville, Florida-based credit union seems perfect for the businessman. “I was always very business-minded,” he told the Jacksonville Daily Record.

He succeeded Terry West upon West’s retirement from VyStar. “My predecessor and his leadership team [did] 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,” said Brian Wolfburg. However, he recognized opportunities for positive changes and growth.

The credit union started at the Naval Air Station Jacksonville in 1952. Since stepping into the role of CEO at the institution, Wolfburg has spent nearly five years expanding on the credit union industry motto “People Helping People.” This also impacts his personal life, as Wolfburg said he continues to “look for ways to get involved and engaged” in order to “make sure that VyStar and my family and I get involved in the community and play a part in helping to make it a better place to live.”

The credit union supports its communities by donating millions of dollars to hundreds of nonprofit organizations dedicated to bettering the world. In addition, VyStar’s employees are equally passionate about volunteering to strengthen the foundation of their communities.

The CEO Has Always Been a Go-Getter

Since childhood, Wolfburg has exuded an entrepreneurial spirit, delivering local neighborhood newspapers and selling handmade chocolates during the holidays. “I worked for all my neighbors,” Wolfburg said. “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.”

He’s originally from Buffalo, New York, but Wolfburg’s passion for business has taken him around the world. “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 United States, worked out of Buffalo, New York, Denver, and Seattle,” he shared.

Before taking on the role of CEO of the credit union, he led Alaska USA Federal Credit Union as chief operating officer. Chris Pokrivnak, branch vice president of VyStar’s Bartram Park location, had also worked at the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union as area vice president before moving his career to Jacksonville in 2019. 

“I love the melting pot culture the city of Jacksonville seems to have, and I joined VyStar because I believe in the ‘People Helping People’ philosophy that contributes to that culture,” Pokrivnak said. “VyStar continues to prove to me that they walk the talk and believe in their employees.” 

VyStar CEO Brian Wolfburg Works To Achieve Results

During his first few months as CEO of the credit union, Wolfburg guided positive changes such as reworking the credit union’s contracts with vendors in order to invest the savings back to the members and reduce some of the service fees. 

During Wolfburg’s first year at the credit union in Florida, his accomplishments included “eliminating over half of our service fees to members” and expanding its call center operations. It also grew its ATM network nationwide.

Under Wolfburg’s leadership, the credit union has grown to 69 full-service branches, 18 high school branches, and a network of over 20,000 surcharge-free ATMs. It now serves over 875,000 members, with assets over $13.5 billion. In addition, it ranks as a top auto lender in Florida.

In February 2023, Wolfburg proudly participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the grand opening of the Lake Mary branch, which is the credit union’s 69th full-service branch. The Lake Mary location is VyStar’s 18th location in central Florida and the third in Seminole County. It features the credit union’s digital forward design concept, which enhances the way employees connect with members.

In 2022, the United States Department of the Treasury officially approved the credit union as a community development financial institution. That official documentation increases the credit union’s ability to help low-income members become homeowners. It also boosts its ability to offer competitively priced consumer products and small business loans to underserved populations. 

The credit union continues supporting past and present military members and their families by offering a variety of exclusive perks and military benefits. As a testament to the financial institution’s longtime commitment to the military, it was recognized as a top 10 military-friendly company by Viqtory, a data-driven military marketing company, in February 2023. Additionally, there are many benefits to joining a financial institution that prioritizes excellent service to its members over creating income for stockholders. 

Under Brian Wolfburg’s leadership, the credit union remains committed to helping its members accomplish their financial goals. Becoming a member means access to great rates, low to no fees, early direct deposit, rewards on credit cards, member-centric service, and more.

All of its efforts appear to be paying. The Jacksonville Business Journal recognized the credit union as the 2022 top mortgage lender for the volume of mortgages by area in northeast Florida. It achieved that milestone by deriving the most mortgages — 4,962 — and the largest volume, totaling $762.59 million. 

As part of its innovative mortgage dealings, the VyStar established the Everyday Heroes Mortgage Program, which provides affordable terms to over 100 professions that make beneficial improvements to communities through civil service jobs.

The credit union understands the needs of all military heroes. Additionally, it offers military members — whether active duty, veterans, or their spouses — the Military Heroes Mortgage Program, which takes into account the specific needs of the demographic. Members can use 100% financing and an up to $10,000 grant as a down payment or closing costs. Members can also save up to $5,000 in closing costs or opt for a 0.25% rate discount. 

In a partnership with Habitat for Humanity Jacksonville, the credit union is helping the community obtain low-cost mortgage loans with 0% financing and, according to the company, making repayment affordable increases the odds of future generations benefiting from new opportunities.

“Knowing the challenges that homebuyers are currently facing across our community and our country, it is as important as ever that we step up and serve as a champion in finding solutions for our members,” said Jenny Vipperman, the credit union’s chief lending officer. “Our team of dedicated lending professionals is constantly working to improve the lives of our members and strengthen the places we call home.” These are just a few ways that Brian Wolfburg and VyStar are helping to make buying a home easier every step of the way.


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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - CEO Advisory - VyStar CEO Brian Wolfburg: ‘I Was Always Very Business-Minded’

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Anna Papadopoulos
Anna Papadopoulos is a senior money, wealth, and asset management reporter at CEOWORLD magazine, covering consumer issues, investing and financial communities + author of the CEOWORLD magazine newsletter, writing about money with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. You can follow CEOWORLD magazine on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or connect on LinkedIn for musings on money, wealth, asset management, millionaires, and billionaires. Email her at info@ceoworld.biz.