Nymbus had a strong year in 2021, securing a $20 million investment from VyStar Credit Union just a month after its founding.
The credit union service organization described the investment as “the largest fintech funding round ever on behalf of a credit union” in a April press release.
The investment”[spoke] volumes to the trust VyStar has placed” in Nymbus, said Joel Swanson, VyStar’s Chief Member Experience Office, at the time.
About three months later, VyStar made another commitment to Nymbus when she chose to partner with the company to overhaul its digital banking platforms.
After months of testing, online and mobile banking systems were scheduled to be unavailable from May 13-15 during the conversion.
A month later, the services are still not fully functional.
Last: VyStar Credit Union Online, Mobile Banking Enters 11th Day Without Service
Earlier: VyStar says online banking is working, but mobile is still down and delays persist
In case you missed it: VyStar denies cyberattack theories as customers react on social media to ongoing outage
VyStar customer William Jackson said the whole ordeal was “very disruptive”.
“I have a very strict budget that I manage digitally through my phone and computer, and it really complicates things when I can’t get consistent access,” he said. “It’s been going on for so long that [on June 9] I have just decided that I am going to change banks. I will keep some money in the accounts to keep them open, but the majority of my funds I will transfer to another bank.
VyStar announced to customers last week that transaction histories and transfer capabilities were once again available to members after the online banking platform was down or only partially functional for a month from today.
VyStar also announced that it will proactively refund fees charged to members from May 14 through June 9 following the online outage. This includes NSF charges, overdrafts and courtesy payments, credit cards, wire transfers, and overdue consumer and business loans.
A VyStar spokesperson said members are experiencing reduced wait times when logging in and those times are expected to improve further in the coming days. The mobile app remains unavailable while all functionality is returned to the online banking platform.
“Everyone in this organization worked around the clock [to fix the problem]said VyStar Chairman and CEO Brian Wolfburg in a May 24 interview with the Times-Union. “We know what inconvenience this has caused and what impact it has had on our members. We are immensely sorry.
A match made in corporate America
VyStar is the 14th largest credit union in the nation with more than 800,000 members in Florida and Georgia, 64 full-service branches and about $12.5 billion in assets, according to a Business Wire reporting in April. It is the second largest credit union headquartered in Florida and the largest mortgage lender in Northeast Florida.
VyStar executives Swanson and senior vice president of digital experience Joe Colca serve on Nymbus’ board.
In addition to VyStar’s personal stake in Nymbus, the City of Jacksonville has also provided support for the venture.
In October, Nymbus has announced that he will be moving its Miami headquarters on the 13th floor of the VyStar Tower in downtown Jacksonville.
Additionally, the move was approved for $4.53 million in state and city tax dollars to “bring fintech jobs to Jacksonville” when it was approved in August under the code name Project End Game.
Nymbus has denied maintenance requests indefinitely due to the “complex, multi-vendor project”.
VyStar customers and members of the public have expressed their thoughts on the project, however.
Communicate to customers
VyStar members posted on social media that they were still experiencing long wait times, reporting that they were nearing the end of a line of tens of thousands in online queues.
Some who called the customer service number faced wait times of over an hour or had their calls dropped while on the line.
” I think that [VyStar is] trying to be as transparent as possible with the information they have,” said Bobbi Doggett, associate professor of public relations at the University of North Florida. “I think they were really caught off guard with that.”
By far, the biggest customer complaint about VyStar’s communication was the difficulty in getting help.
“It’s a terrible crisis for them, and one of the things about crisis management is you want to contain it as soon as possible,” Doggett said. “If it had been out for a week people would have been like ‘OK, whatever’, but now that we’re [in the] fourth week, they do not contain this crisis.
Some VyStar social media updates occurred within days of each other, and the company did not appear to respond to any comments or responses online.
“The problem is their online platform, and they need to realize that’s what this client is using,” Doggett said. “These are online consumers who use online platforms and are also well versed in social media. I think VyStar needs to address these social media issues more in some way. It doesn’t look good for them and it looks like they don’t have control.
Doggett said VyStar should “post something every day” and recommended more personal VyStar contact with those who post online or respond to VyStar updates.
“Whatever the issue, it would be nice if VyStar was transparent and honest,” Jackson said. “It would be nice if they admitted what the problem is and how long it will take to fix and fix the problem. I’ve been a member for five or six years, and this is the first time something of this magnitude has happened.
A Times-Union test call around 3 p.m. Thursday showed an average customer would have to wait at least 55 minutes to speak to a customer service representative.
“In crisis communication, you have to be compassionate, which they try to do,” Doggett said.
Should I stay or should I go?
A consistent type of feedback made by customers online is their interest in switching banks and encouraging others to do the same.
Doggett said that while people are angry and frustrated that they can’t bank like they’re used to, that kind of conversation will continue. However, she noted that it’s hard to say how many people will actually leave VyStar.
“It just depends on the loyalty of their members,” she said. “With banking, we know it’s so difficult to move your account to another location because you have direct deposits or [bills] which come out immediately. It’s a very, very difficult process.
Doggett said she believes VyStar will lose at least some members due to the nearly month-long outage. Those who are not local and cannot travel to branches will have had more problems and may be more likely to leave.
Melody Stillwell Dowling said she has been a customer since she was 12, marking 50 years with VyStar.
“I love VyStar,” she said, “but I don’t understand why, in today’s era, the [platform] can be mostly away for a month.”
Jackson, one of the clients who chose to make another institution their primary bank, said the lack of access is “simply unacceptable in the age of technology.
“And we don’t get any information from VyStar,” he said. “When you walk into the bank, the queues are long, people are upset and no one has an answer to any questions. Instead of moving forward, it feels like going backwards.
On the other hand, people who don’t have enough savings to open a new account might not be able to switch banks.
“I feel bad for VyStar,” Doggett said. “I feel for all who are [in] this. I don’t think they ever anticipated the extent of the time it would take.
Editor’s note: VyStar has 64 full-service locations and 18 high school locations. A previous version of this story was unclear on the difference between branch types.