Suzan Lupton’s journey has taken her from Uganda to the First Coast, where she currently serves as vice president of VyStar Credit Union’s Ponte Vedra Beach Branch.
What brought you to the First Coast?
I am originally from Uganda. I came to the United States in 2002 on a volleyball scholarship to South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, where I obtained a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. I also hold a master’s degree in Business Administration from Florida International University. Growing up, I always wanted to live in a bigger city, closer to the beach, so Jacksonville was my natural choice after my first visit.
What are your duties and responsibilities as vice president of VyStar’s Ponte Vedra Beach branch?
I’ve been with VyStar Credit Union for almost 10 years. During that time, I’ve worked in several different capacities until May 2016, when I was promoted to branch vice president of the Ponte Vedra branch, where I am responsible for the management and day-to-day operations of the branch. My primary objective is providing quality service and financial education for my members. I also coach, develop and lead employees in obtaining their goals and the organizational goals set by VyStar.
What are some of the differences between a bank and a credit union, and how do those differences impact or benefit customers?
VyStar is a not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by our members and governed by a volunteer board of directors. We do not have shareholders like for-profit financial institutions; each of our members is an equal owner. VyStar’s earnings and profits are passed down to our member-owners in the form of lower loan rates, lower service fees and higher deposit rates. We are focused on member satisfaction, member retention, member loyalty and caring for our communities.
At a time when many people conduct their banking online or on their phones, what in your opinion are the benefits of doing your banking at a local bricks-and-mortar branch office?
Through our research, we know our members want choices when it comes to their financial services. They prefer a mix of online and electronic service options that allow for quick, easy completion of their daily transactions. Plus, they want the human interaction of a branch setting or call center where they can build a relationship of trust in preparation for life’s financial milestones, such as purchasing a new home or planning for retirement. VyStar works hard to maintain the right balance of digital and traditional service delivery options through our branches, ATM network, call center and online products like mobile check deposit, bill pay and internet and mobile banking. Member convenience is always our guide when making decisions to expand our branch or ATM network and when adding new products and services.
Are there any civic or charitable groups with which you’re involved that you’d like to highlight?
As VyStar employees, we are encouraged and given the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the communities we serve. Currently, I am a member of the Rotary Club of Ponte Vedra Beach, Emerging Leaders of St. Johns County and the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce.
How do you enjoy spending your free time?
When I’m not working, I enjoy any time spent with friends and family.
What is your favorite part of living on the First Coast?
The ease and accessibility to the beach. The people are also very friendly and there is always something to do in the local community.