Recently, the Fernandina Beach Rotary Club welcomed guest speaker Terry West, President and CEO of Vystar Credit Union. West, who has been with Vystar for 25 years and served as president the past 22, explained that the credit union concept began in Germany in the 1860s. Credit unions differ from banks in that they are not-for-profit institutions owned by their membership whose profits are returned to members rather than as dividends to stockholders. Vystar, which opened as Jacksonville Navy Federal Credit Union in 1952, was chartered by the state in 2002 to accept members from residents in five Northeast Florida counties. Now serving 17 area counties, Vystar’s membership has grown to more than 445,000. While Vystar’s mission is to improve its members’ financial well-being by offering such traditional services as savings and checking accounts, loans, and investment opportunities, West said the credit union prides itself on its involvement in the community. He said he was particularly proud of the Vystar branches the credit union has opened in several area high schools. The program teaches students financial literacy, including budgeting and debt management. He also noted the credit union’s ongoing support for the Amelia Island Book Festival, Barnabas and the Shrimp Festival and pointed to the years of volunteer work done in the community by long-time employees such as Fernandina Beach Rotary Club Member Larry Myers and Club President Shannon Brown.