VyStar Credit Union exists to serve the hard-working individuals who are so important to our communities and ensure they have access to the products and services they need to build the lives they want.
Whether someone is attempting to open their first checking account, a family is looking to buy their forever home, a business owner is trying to retain their employees during a pandemic or a couple is seeking to save for retirement, our responsibility is to do right by our members.
That responsibility is recognized and appreciated by employees across VyStar. Our commitment to improve the communities around us starts on an individual level with each of our members, but we have recently seen the full scope of our efforts as they pertain to two important groups: homebuyers and small business owners.
While other local banks and credit unions suspended some of their lending programs due to the coronavirus pandemic, VyStar stepped up for members who were eager to obtain a mortgage as interest rates continued to hit record lows. As a result, our Real Estate Lending team surpassed $100 million in closed loans in a single month for the first time in June. That unprecedented achievement follows a strong period for VyStar. In 2019, we finished as the top lender in volume of mortgages ($688.47 million on 5,134 mortgages) in Northeast Florida, according to the Jacksonville Business Journal. We expect to close 2020 in an equally strong manner.
We are thrilled to help so many of our members become homeowners and have been equally focused on small business owners who were impacted by the pandemic. After the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) began accepting applications in early April, VyStar obtained more loans on behalf of small business owners than any other credit union in Florida, according to data from the U.S. Treasury Department. We originated 4,431 loans totaling $146,593,337, funds that helped small business owners retain employees, pay bills and remain viable despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19.
These numbers reflect the hard work put in by all our employees. Without their dedication and expertise, we would not have been able to facilitate that level of volume. The numbers also demonstrate our commitment to serving our intended membership, which is middle-class families and small business owners.
For example, the average mortgage disbursed by VyStar in 2019 was for just over $134,000. Among the top five mortgage lenders in our area, we were the only one whose average mortgage disbursement was for less than $200,000. That is in line with our guiding principle that as a credit union, VyStar is owned by our members, which means each person who represents our membership is an equal owner and receives equal service regardless of how much money they have.
Our PPP numbers told a similar story. VyStar was one of more than 900 credit unions across the U.S. to participate directly in the PPP. Together, these credit unions saved more than 1.1 million jobs, according to data provided in the SBA’s PPP report. And much of our work went toward helping small businesses. Of the 4,431 loans that VyStar secured, 4,295 were for less than $150,000. With an average PPP loan amount of just over $33,000, we were able to help small business owners who were most in need of assistance and are critical to our economy. As a result, more than 20,000 local jobs were saved as employees remained on the payroll.
Helping to save jobs, keep small businesses open and support our community is payoff enough, but it is gratifying to see our hard work reflected in these numbers. They indicate that while we are accomplishing our vision of bringing credit union services to more people, we are also remaining rooted in the working-class philosophy that dates back to our founding more than 60 years ago. Put more simply: As we grow, we are remaining true to ourselves and true to you.
At VyStar, that will never change. We will remain committed to our members by offering high-quality and dependable products and services. That is what defines us today and will drive us into a better future.
The information in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. VyStar Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.