In interview, VyStar exec reveals CEO has been on vacation amid online banking issues but ‘been incredibly involved’

Web & mobile banking still down for customers a week after planned outage

As VyStar Credit Union members have been struggling to get information on their accounts for a week now, News4JAX has learned the CEO has been on vacation.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As VyStar Credit Union members have been struggling to get information on their accounts for a week now, a VyStar executive said there’s no timeframe for when the issue will be fixed, but they’re working around the clock to resolve the issues.

The credit union’s online banking and mobile banking app were still down about a week after a planned outage last Friday. The credit union says everyone’s money and transactions are secure, but customers are complaining of inconvenience and sometimes inconsistent information.

On Friday, News4JAX reporter Anne Maxwell spoke one-on-one with VyStar Credit Union Chief Member Experience Officer Joel Swanson.

UNCUT: Press the play button below to watch the full interview with VyStar’s chief member experience officer

Watch News4JAX reporter Anne Maxwell's interview with VyStar Credit Union Chief Member Experience Officer Joel Swanson.

Maxwell: “What exactly is wrong with VyStar’s new online and mobile banking platform?”

Swanson: “We had a planned conversion last weekend to move to a new online and mobile banking experience, and the goal was to provide an enhanced member experience to our members. Unfortunately, when it came live, we had some unexpected issues.”

Maxwell: “Which issues?”

Swanson: “We, initially, we had some performance issues, and that’s the primary issue that we’ve had is just with some performance issues based on the real-world experiences with it.”

Maxwell: “Are you confident online banking will be working by let’s say next week?”

Swanson: “I can’t give you a timeframe, but I can tell you that we are working around the clock to bring the system up just as quickly as possible and we’ve made significant progress.”

Maxwell: “By June, maybe, would it be ready?”

Swanson: “I am confident that the system will be ready soon for our members.”

Maxwell: “One News4JAX Insider wrote on our website, cannot get through to the chat, telephones have long wait times and no one has even mentioned that it’s costing nearly $5 a gallon to go to a branch just to get a current balance. I mean, people are frustrated.”

Swanson: “And I apologize, and we take responsibility. I, on behalf of our entire senior leadership team, accept responsibility for the issues and inconvenience that our members are facing during this time. But we are doing everything possible to staff up our contact center and our branches, to provide that service to members. We have back office team members across the company that have stepped out and gone into branches and are taking calls to try and take member calls. That said, I do understand the frustration with some longer wait times.”

Maxwell: “Where is the CEO?”

Swanson: “The CEO was on a planned trip in a remote location already when these issues occurred. As soon as they occurred, he along with our entire VyStar leadership team, were in constant communication and have been, and he made plans and began transiting back to Jacksonville and is on his way back right now.”

Maxwell: “Why didn’t he fly back immediately to help?”

Swanson: “He was in a remote location and logistics were difficult, and he put in plans immediately and is already in transit back.”

Maxwell: “So he’s been on vacation for a week? Has he been working on this since last Friday?”

Swanson: “Our CEO was already on the trip when this started, and he’s been in constant communication, and as we know in today’s world with remote working, he’s been incredibly involved and engaged this entire time.”

Maxwell: “Where was he?”

Swanson: “I’m not able to disclose that.”

Maxwell: “When will he be back?”

Swanson: “He’s on his way back now.”

Maxwell: “Back in July, software, company Nymbus -- which has offices in this building, according to its website, because of its collaboration with VyStar -- they announced VyStar had chosen Nymbus as its online and mobile banking solution partner following a $20 million investment by VyStar back in April in Nymbus’ newly formed credit union service organization, and the website shows you’re on the board of Nymbus’ Board of Directors?”

Swanson: Nods.

Maxwell: “Why did VyStar choose Nymbus and have they had experience successfully implementing a banking system like this before?”

Swanson: “Yeah, VyStar selected Nymbus after thorough due diligence and evaluating their technology that they bring to the marketplace. They have over 25 other clients, including one that’s a $50 billion bank and has successfully implemented solutions like this before but every implementation is unique.”

Maxwell: “Is this like a totally new system? Has anybody else used this exact technology before?”

Swanson: “This system from Nymbus is used in other banks and credit unions, but the unique implementation that we have here has nuances that aren’t in other implementations.”

Maxwell: “Could it be an issue of scale or was there an issue in the code?”

Swanson: “Scale is definitely a part of the issue.”

While at VyStar, we had escorts representing the credit union escorting us through the business. We asked to stop by Nymbus’ offices but were denied.

VyStar told us that Nymbus isn’t the only vendor working on this project. We’re waiting to hear which other ones are also involved.

A spokesperson for Nymbus released the following statement:

“Nymbus is committed to providing our clients, partners and their customers with the most innovative and reliable technology. VyStar Credit Union’s new system is a complex, multi-vendor project, and we continue to actively assess the situation in partnership with the credit union’s leadership team and all other vendors involved. We understand the burden this has placed on VyStar’s members, and our priority is to ensure they have online access to their accounts as quickly as possible.”

In the meantime, VyStar said that there are 40 to 50 people around the clock on the issue and that they’ve got 900 people working customer service.

We also asked VyStar about some specific issues we’ve heard from some News4JAX Insiders and viewers about transactions not working properly. The credit union said, again, that its core systems are accurate. It’s encouraging anyone with specific issues to reach out or visit a branch.

Members can also get their balance by using Magic*Touch by dialing 904-777-6000 or 800-445-6289 and selecting “Option 0.” VyStar notes that members will need their member ID to use this feature.

About the Authors:

I-TEAM and general assignment reporter