- Associated Press - Monday, April 27, 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A man who helped found a Jacksonville credit union is retiring Wednesday from its board of directors after 63 years.

Michael Cascone Sr., 94, helped start VyStar Credit Union for military and civil service personnel at Jacksonville Naval Air Station in 1952.

Cascone, a military veteran, said VyStar was designed to help service members get credit. Cascone and about a dozen associates formed the credit union with less than $100.

“Knowing what the problems were back then in 1952 with credit in town, it was almost impractical for anyone to get credit,” Cascone said. “The credit union came in, and then it was people helping people.”

Today, the credit union has about 486,000 members and assets worth about $5.5 billion.

“I never thought it would be this big, absolutely not,” Cascone said. “It sort of built on itself, really, because of the service we gave to the members.”

According to The Florida Times-Union (https://bit.ly/1Ew2xqY ), VyStar has 34 branches in northeast Florida. There are plans to open at least three new branches each year.

Terry West, VyStar CEO and president, said Cascone is still the driving force behind the credit union.

“Mike was the key man, … and we are always focused on people,” West said. “We try to make sure that we operate in a mode and expand in a mode that is reasonable and at a pace that we can afford so that we’ll be here - not just today, 63 years later, but 163 years in the future.”


Information from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union, https://www.jacksonville.com

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