First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Meet Jennifer Garcia

Jennifer Garcia is the Assistant Branch Manager at First County Bank’s Prospect Street branch in Stamford.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been with First County Bank since I graduated high school and have loved all the years I’ve been here. I’ve grown up and learned a lot about myself and the banking industry. I am now married and have recently purchased my first home. I was able to breeze through the home buying process thanks to everything I’ve learned working at First County Bank.

Currently, I’m starting my senior year at the University of Bridgeport and look forward to continuing my education. I particularly enjoy spending free time with my husband and my dog Brady (named after Tom Brady; we are a New England Patriots household).

Throughout my ten years at First County Bank I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering for many community events, but my ultimate favorite event has to be the Thanksgiving UBS balloon parade every year. I love seeing all the families gathered together to watch the parade.

What is your favorite part of your role with First County Bank?

My favorite part of my role with First County Bank is the ability to learn and grow within the company. I’ve had great mentors throughout my years at First County Bank and have learned a lot from them. Due to the knowledge I’ve gained I have been able to successfully become an assistant branch manager. I am very grateful that I’ve had such amazing coworkers.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment?

I have many favorite moments with First County Bank. I must say that I enjoy the holiday parties because all employees from different departments and branches get to interact with each other. It is a time when we recognize and celebrate our hard work throughout the year. Everyone I’ve ever met at First County Bank has been a pleasure to work with and I’ve created great friendships.

In Our Community, Sponsorships & Events

First County Bank Teams Up with Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy to Offer FirstAthlete Access

First County Bank and Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy (BVSA) are excited to announce a special offer for our customers. We’ve teamed up with BVSA to offer FirstAthlete Access, a Bank customer appreciation program.

Available at all First County Bank branches, the FirstAthlete Access coupon offers a $350 value BVSA appointment for athletes of all ages to improve their game. This includes a choice of: 30 minute baseball or softball evaluation; 60-90 minute performance training session (age dependent); or entry into a BVSA baseball or softball clinic (six 1-hour, weekly sessions).

Left to Right – Rey Giallongo, chairman and CEO of First County Bank, with Bobby Valentine, founder of Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy and Willard Miley, senior vice president and director of Retail Banking, First County Bank.

In April 2018, First County Bank became the official field sponsor of BVSA’s 40,000 square foot indoor sports facility. The BVSA facility is a sporting home for young athletes and families in Fairfield County and hosts corporate events, fundraisers and sporting tournaments. Since the Sports Academy and First County Bank both are invested in serving the community, this partnership could not be a better match.

For more info about Bobby Valentine’s Sports Academy, visit http://bvacademy.com.

In Our Community

First County Bank Volunteers with the Polish Saturday School in Stamford

Left to Right: First County Bank Employees Joanna Woznik, Anna Chmarzynska, and Justyna Nurczyk

First County Bank actively participated in Stamford’s Polish Saturday School during the 2017-2018 school year as a part of its ongoing involvement in the local Polish community.

A number of bank employees volunteered every Saturday to help young children start their first savings account and teach financial literacy to eighth grade and high school students. It was a wonderful opportunity to get involved with the local community and help students develop important life skills.

The 2017-2018 school year was also the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Polish Saturday School. Employees took part in their Jubilee Banquet on June 9, 2018, which celebrated the 30th anniversary and the end of the 2017-2018 year. The Bank is honored to be involved in such a valuable community organization.

Trends & Tips

Warning Signs of Identity Theft

If your wallet, Social Security number, or other personal information is lost or stolen, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft. Watch out for these warning signs that someone has stolen your information:

  • You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
  • You don’t get your bills or other mail.
  • Merchants refuse your checks.
  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
  • A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
  • You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.

Visit https://www.firstcountybank.com/efraud-protection for resources in case you detect one of these warning signs.

 

First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Meet Elizabeth Grajeda

Elizabeth Grajeda is the Assistant Branch Manager at First County Bank’s Shippan branch in Stamford.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Guatemala and moved to the United States in 1994, thanks to my mother who wanted a better life for me and my sisters. I am the first child of five and a proud mother of two girls and one boy. I have always lived in Stamford and have never seen my life outside here. I love spending my free time with my family watching movies and soccer, eating ice cream, going to the park or just relaxing at home with them. One of my biggest obsessions is shopping for shoes- different types, sizes, colors- and I love to match them up with my clothes (but what woman doesn’t, though!).

I started my career at First County Bank in 2004 as a teller at the Atlantic Street branch and worked my way up to Supervisor and then Assistant Manager in 2013. I love to work with people, listen to them, and help them out with their needs. I also love to volunteer in different community and bank events. One of my favorite ones has always been the Stamford Thanksgiving Balloon Parade, even though it’s cold, but I love it because it’s fun.

What is your favorite part of your role with First County Bank?
My favorite part of working at First County Bank is my interaction with people: to be able to help them out with their needs and give them advice. I also enjoy the long term relationships and friends I’ve made through the years. I have been able to see families opening their newborn’s first savings account, and then, after years passing by, seeing that child growing up and coming in to open their first checking account or credit card.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
“How do you do it?”
In my branch we have always worn different hats, from teller to manager. I always have a smile on my face and a positive attitude towards everything I do.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite First County Bank moments are when I am able to be a part of my customers’ and employees’ lives, achievements and needs, and when I am able to serve the community.

 

Promotional Initiatives

#DigitalConnection: Debit Card Protection Offers Greater Peace of Mind

Deactivation on Desktop

Have you ever lost, misplaced, or had your debit card stolen?

With First County Bank’s Debit Card Protection, customers can deactivate/reactivate their debit card with the click of a button! This feature is accessible via mobile phone, tablet, or desktop allowing customers to directly manage their debit card quickly and conveniently.

Deactivation can be initiated using the “Guard my Card” feature on the mobile app or though the website under “Card Services.” Deactivating a debit card will temporarily freeze any card activity from occurring. If the customer finds their debit card, they may reactivate it using the same feature.

First County Bank’s Debit Card Protection feature offers customers a sense of security in the event of a missing debit card by preventing unauthorized use.

 

Insurance Products, Trends & Tips

National Insurance Awareness Day

 

Today, Thursday, June 28th is National Insurance Awareness Day. June 28th is observed each year as a day to review your insurance coverage.

More often than not, we find ourselves getting caught up in our fast-paced lives leaving little thought to insurance. However, having proper coverage can offer peace of mind for loved ones in the event of damage, illness or death.

At First County Bank we understand these needs and the importance of having proper insurance coverage. To learn more about the selection of affordable life insurance and annuity products First County Bank has available click here or talk to your local banker.

Lifestyle Trends & Tips

7 Hot Tips for Summer Travel

Planning to take off for that much-needed summer vacation? Before you leave home, there are some important steps you should take to ensure a safe and relaxing journey:

  1. Stop mail, newspaper, and other deliveries. Nothing advertises you’re away from home better than an overstuffed mailbox or a driveway covered with newspapers. Be sure to contact the post office and other delivery companies to arrange for a vacation stoppage.
  2. Make arrangements for pets. If you’re leaving behind your pets, make arrangements with a pet sitter or kennel. Since summer is the busiest time for vacations, you’ll want to make your pet’s plans well in advance of your trip.
  3. Set lights on timers. To guard against potential burglars, be sure to set lights on timers, so others will think the home is occupied.
  4. Turn off the main water supply. The last thing you want to do is come home to a swimming pool inside your home. This simple step will minimize the risk of that happening.
  5. Unplug electronics. Before you leave home, be sure to unplug any electronics from wall outlets, such as televisions, stereos and appliances. If you have these devices on surge protectors, switch the power off.
  6. Give a family member or neighbor a key. It’s always a good idea to give someone you trust a key to your home in the event that something should happen to the home while you’re away. Avoid leaving a key under the welcome mat or other obvious places.
  7. Call First County Bank before you leave. To ensure you receive uninterrupted debit card access, call our CustomerFirst Contact Center at 203.462.4400 to let us know your travel plans.

Once you follow these simple steps, there’s only one more thing to do – relax!

Promotional Initiatives

Real-time Control of Your Business Line of Credit

In an effort to continually provide the best overall banking experience, we want to make sure our business customers are aware of certain digital capabilities when using their business line of credit. First County Bank business customers with a line of credit have the ability to control their funds in real-time by using online banking to initiate advances between their line of credit and First County Bank business checking account.

Additional flexibility even allows business owners to customize the levels of access for any of their users all from the comfort of their home or office via online or mobile banking.

For more information, contact the Cash Management Services Department at 203.462.4379 (Mon – Fri., 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).

Trends & Tips

Engage at Every Age -Tips for Internet Safety

Those aged 65 and older are more digitally connected than ever. Approximately 42% of older adults report owning smartphones, a figure that has more than doubled in the last five years. 67% of adults ages 65 and older go online.

As those of us aged 65 and older increasingly embrace technology, it is important to be aware of and protect ourselves against internet fraud. Fraudsters often target digitally connected older Americans with email and website scams, seeking personal information and financial data. At any age, following these tips can help you avoid internet fraud:

  • Use strong and unique passwords. Never share your passwords with anyone. Your passwords should also be complex (i.e., at least eight characters and include numbers, upper and lowercase letters and symbols).
  • Access the internet from a secure location. When connecting to the internet, especially when banking online, only use computers and networks you know and trust.
  • Secure your computer. Security software is essential, especially when accessing your financial data online. Be sure you have a firewall turned on and are running antivirus software. First County Bank utilizes a URL (web address) that begins with “https” as this signifies a secure connection.

For more security tips or to continue reading this article, click here.