Q&A: VyStar spokesperson says credit union making ‘great progress’

On 10th day of outage, VyStar spokesperson answers our questions

News4JAX sent the public relations agency working with VyStar a list of questions Monday after 10 days of a mobile and online banking outage.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – News4JAX sent the public relations agency working with VyStar a list of questions Monday after 10 days of a mobile and online banking outage.

Also on Monday, News4JAX learned the Florida Office of Financial Regulation is monitoring the situation. We also asked members if they planned to stay with the credit union amid the outage — and hundreds of people sent us a response by Monday evening.

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

Monday, the public relations agency working with the credit union, the Dalton Agency, sent us a response to our questions, including the following answers that it said came from a VyStar spokesperson.

Q: Is the 2016 outage informing the company at all as to how to respond to this one?

A: Like in 2016, we remain dedicated to doing everything we can to support our members throughout this conversion. While continuously working to bring Online Banking live, we have also:

  • Deployed back-office employees from across other departments to work in our branches and at our Contact Center.
  • Extended Contact Center hours from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. today, May 23.
  • Extended Contact Center hours on Tuesday, May 24 and Wednesday, May 25, from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
  • Keeping select branches open until 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 24, and Wednesday, May 25. In addition, opening select branch drive-thrus at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 24, and Wednesday, May 25.
  • Proactively waiving VyStar fees during the timeframe that Online Banking is offline.

Q: We keep hearing a contract expired with the previous vendor – is that why the credit union hasn’t been able to revert back to old system?

A: No. We have continued to explore every option to bring online services back to our members, including actively working and consulting with the multiple vendors associated with both new and previous platforms.

Q: Any update on the timeline for resolution?

A: Our teams are working day in and day out to bring access back to our members as quickly as possible. We are making great progress.

Q: VyStar executive Joel Swanson sits on the board of Nymbus. To what extent did his involvement affect the decision to switch systems?

A: In 2021, VyStar invested in Nymbus and selected the company as its digital banking partner. As part of VyStar’s investment, the credit union was granted a volunteer position on its board of directors. This provides VyStar a seat at the table, which enables us to better protect the investment.

VyStar selected Nymbus as one of many vendors for our Online & Mobile Banking solution. VyStar selected Nymbus’ product after thorough due diligence and evaluating the technology 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.

The fact that we have a volunteer board seat enables us to help shape the direction of their company and create a solution that maximizes value and provides the best services to VyStar members.

Q: Did/does VyStar have a backup plan in place in case the new platform didn’t/doesn’t work as expected?

A: Yes, we have explored and simultaneously pursued several options – or back up plans - to ensure that we are able to bring service back to our members as quickly as possible.

Q: Can VyStar revert to the old system for the time being? Why or why not?

A: This is a complex, multi-vendor project. We continue to explore every option, including reverting back to the previous system, to bring service back to our members as quickly as possible. Our goal is to deliver a sustainable, long-term solution.

Dana Gainers is a longtime customer of VyStar and business owner. She and many others are frustrated.

“We have to pay our employees. We have to pay our vendors,” she said.

As noted above, VyStar is keeping some branches open in-person for longer hours.

Gainers said she went to the Dunn Avenue location Monday, where there was a line of people waiting outside in the heat.

“I saw the teller—she had a desk and a chair and people were lined up, you know, speaking with her, and so once she got information from the customer, she then went into the bank,” Gainers explained.

News4JAX has twice requested to interview CEO Brian Wolfburg, and Monday evening, we sent a third request.

“They need to be up front with what is actually going on because I don’t buy what they’re saying,” Gainers said.

She said that she and her husband now plan on taking their business elsewhere.

About the Author:

Joe covers education and breaking news. He is a frequent contributor to the News4Jax I-team and Trust Index coverage.