Dear Community Partner:
As we celebrate successes and consider challenges at this time of year, we want to thank you and your organizations for all you do in our local community. The partnerships that you have forged with your peers in the Community, with the Bank, our Foundation and most importantly with our employees continue to improve the quality of life in our cities and towns, making Fairfield County a better place to live, work and play.
Having been here for nearly 170 years, we dedicate ourselves to improving our community not only through our Foundation giving but in many other ways. Our employees have provided resources to thousands of first-time home buyers and have connected local business with our expertise helping them to grow and prosper to promote a better local economy.
We’re very proud of our colleagues here at First County Bank. You see us at any number of Board and Committee meetings of local nonprofits and service organizations but what you might not see is the incredible generosity demonstrated throughout the year by our employees. We have collected food for the Food Bank, household and baby items for rehabilitation programs and backpacks full of school supplies. Additionally, our employees contributed generously to hurricane relief efforts. This is over and above the incredible giving of nearly $10 million in local Foundation grants and scholarships, all made possible by our team members.
Through these efforts and over 8,000 volunteer hours, we are very proud to be part of your important community mission.
Thank you all for your help and support and we look forward to a great 2019.
Rey Giallongo, Chairman & CEO
Bob Granata, President & COO
Employee Profile: Meet Tiffani Valentin. Tiffani works as a Senior Commercial Loan Operations Specialist in our Summer Street office and has been with First County Bank for over 10 years.
Tell us a little about yourself – feel free to include information about your family, hobbies and/or involvement in the community:
Hi, I’m Tiffani. I am 31 years old and I live in downtown Stamford. I’m originally from Astoria, Queens and my family is originally from Brooklyn, but they’re now scattered between Stamford, New York and Florida.
When I’m not at work, I’m home watching my investigative television shows on Discovery – or horror movies. I’m a big Freddy Krueger fan! My favorite author is Mary Higgins Clark who writes mysteries and is always on the New York Times Best Selling Author list. My favorite musical artist is Mariah Carey – I listen to her songs almost every day. I enjoy Off-Broadway Theater, walking absolutely everywhere and making memories with family and friends.
What is the favorite part of your role with First County Bank?
There are too many to choose from! Besides continuing to have an intricate part of the bank’s internship program, I would have to say one of my favorite roles here at the bank is to be somewhat of a hub of information for just about all things business banking related. I actually enjoy being out and about at bank-sponsored events and other bank meetings. I enjoy being able to answer questions; whether those questions are from a fellow co-worker, customer or potential customer. A common pattern I’ve noticed is that business banking can seem to be such a mystery! Being a liaison between both credit administration and business banking helps to keep me well informed as well as on my toes!
What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
“What do you do at the bank?” It’s honestly the most popular question from both customers and my fellow co-workers. There is no simple answer! But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment?
Yes, the bank’s first year we had interns would have to be my favorite First County Bank moment. It was the beginning of many opportunities thereafter to expand and share my knowledge as an analyst and combine it with my passion for teaching. Not many people know I originally wanted to be a high school biology teacher! The continuation of the internship program has been both professionally and personally rewarding. Each year we further develop the program and it’s always an exciting experience.
On behalf of the entire First County Bank Family, I would like to wish you a happy holiday season and express our appreciation for your continued business and support.
As we enjoy this special time of year, let’s remember to celebrate the many blessings in our lives. The blessings of family and friends, first and foremost. Whether you plan to travel or stay home for the holidays, I wish you all Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy New Year! May all your days be merry and bright.
Best wishes, Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr. Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer
Using the First County Bank Mobile Banking app is all about convenience such as checking your balance, transferring money, and depositing checks. Now, if you’re comfortable using your smart phone, you can also easily monitor activity on your account by setting up text and email alerts. Access the Manage My Alerts tab under the Banking Services menu on the mobile banking app.
Choose from many alerts such as when a specific check has cleared, when a large dollar amount withdrawal was posted to your account, or when a large dollar amount debit card purchase was made, and more. These alerts will help you to stay on top of the activity in your account and help you to keep your accounts secure, by simply using your mobile phone, whether you’re out and about on the weekend or on the train on your daily commute.
For mobile banking that makes your life easier, First County Bank is where you belong!
First County Bank Foundation recently hosted the Annual Celebration of Mutual Partnerships at the Stamford Sheraton.
The reception was attended by many representatives from local nonprofit organizations. Alexandra Drakakis, Associate Curator of the 9/11 Memorial Museum, was the Keynote Speaker who offered a glimpse at the founding and history of the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The Foundation honored Al DiGuido, founder of Al’s Angels, with the recently launched Community Legacy Award.
In selecting Al DiGuido as the first Community Legacy Award honoree, First County Bank Foundation recognizes the impactful work of a local citizen who demonstrates both commitment and passion to a most worthy cause. DiGuido, a Westport resident, is recognized as a thought leader and innovator in the interactive advertising and marketing industries. His business experience includes positions as CEO of Zeta Interactive, a full-service digital agency; CEO of Epsilon Interactive, a top-tier email service provider; and, CEO of Bigfoot Interactive, an interactive creative design agency.
DiGuido is passionate about philanthropy and has helped to raise millions of dollars in support of families with children battling cancer for Tomorrows Children’s Fund in Hackensack, New Jersey. His desire to expand the reach and impact to a wider net of hospitals, clinics, other health care facilities and families led him to establish Al’s Angels, as a 501C3 charitable organization. Today, Al’s Angels has over 1,000 active Angel members and provides holiday meals and gifts to over 2,500 families and 6,000 children in the tristate area, many in Fairfield County. Funds for this work are generated through personal donations and a series of Al’s Angels fundraising activities with 100% of monies collected going directly to children and their families battling cancer, rare blood diseases and severe financial hardships.
Here are some photo highlights from the event.
Did You Know?
Did you know that you can save up to 50 percent on pharmacy, vision and hearing services with a ValueAccess Checking Account with BaZing? A ValueAccess Checking Account with BaZing offers savings, discounts, and benefits. Download the BaZing App1 on your smart phone and BaZing will let you know when there is a deal at a restaurant or retail store in your area. This includes online access and mobile.
See disclosures for terms and conditions.
1 Carrier fees may apply.
Want to get your banking done when it’s convenient for your busy lifestyle? Now you can with First County Bank Mobile Banking. It’s easy — just download the app and you’ll be ready to get started.
Using built-in features made for iPhone® or Android™ such as fingerprint authentication, the First County Bank mobile app provides a secure and easy- to -use experience on your smart phone so you can check your balance, transfer money, pay bills, make loan payments, and even deposit checks – allowing for banking on your terms, wherever you are.
Stop by a branch or visit our website to learn more. https://www.firstcountybank.com/
First County Bank is joining forces once again with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program to collect holiday gifts for children in need in Stamford. Toys for Tots needs the donations by Dec.19 so they can be distributed to the community organizations that hold holiday parties and distribute gifts to children.
Organizer George Ducanic said donation boxes have been placed at more than 100 sites in the area, including First County Bank branches. Toys are needed for children ages 1-10 and community members are encouraged to pick up one or more toys for kids in need in our area. Gifts and should be new and unwrapped. To donate, stop by any of our Stamford branches.
The group needs close to 20,000 toys to fulfill the requests of all the social services and community agencies.
The mission of Toys for Tots is to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute them as holiday gifts to less fortunate children in the community. The primary mission of Toys for Tots, according to their website, “is to deliver a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.”
For more information, contact, Toys for Tots Coordinator George Ducanic at (203) 219-9025, or First County Bank Events Coordinator Anne Hardy at (203) 462-4249.
During your online shopping on Cyber Monday, you will likely land on one or more online retail shopping sites. Here are some tips for shopping safely online.
- Monitor your bank accounts frequently: Turn on notifications to be alerted when purchases are made. Many banking apps allow users to set mobile notifications for all account activity.
- Type the URL into the address bar. Instead of just clicking a link to take you to your chosen retailer’s website, it’s safer to type the retailer’s URL into the address bar on your web browser. It may take a little more effort, but this simple action can help to prevent you from visiting a fake or malicious website.
- Get email savvy – Be aware of the emails coming in and going out of your inbox, especially opening any attachments. Be sure to verify that the email is coming from a trusted source before clicking or applying for any item.
- Use a credit card rather than a debit card – Fraudulent charges are no fun whether it’s a charge to your credit card or debit card. Know that complications may be more severe for a debit card because it is usually linked directly to your checking account.
- Practice “good password hygiene” – Be mindful to create new passwords rather than simply reusing passwords. Use a strong password of 8 characters or more, the longer, the better.
- Beware of phantom sites – If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is! Comparison shopping is great for finding the best deals, but stick to sites you are familiar with. And trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable buying or bidding on an item over the web, or if you feel pressured to place your order immediately, maybe you shouldn’t.
- Keep your browser up to date – Not only is keeping your browser up to date effective for shopping purposes, but the older your browser is, the weaker it is when defending against viruses and malware.
- Make sure the Internet connection is secure. Don’t trust a site just because it claims to be secure. Before you give your payment information, check for indicators that security software is in place.
- Don’t shop on public WiFi: Hackers can gain access to personal, confidential information, including bank account information. Don’t let yourself fall victim by giving them access to your personal information. Always use a secure network.
- Set up two-step authentication: This second layer of security is a great way to ensure that you are the only person who signs into your account.
For more tips on how to shop safely, click here.
Small Business Saturday is back! Saturday, November 24, 2018 is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. By shopping at small businesses, the mom-and-pop stores that are staples in our community, you are doing your part to help them thrive.
In 2010, American Express launched the first Small Business Saturday, encouraging shoppers nationwide to support local commerce. Since then, billions of dollars are spent on this Saturday at small and local businesses by tens of millions of people. We encourage you to do the same! Don’t do all your shopping at big retailers today, plan to spend some time shopping local. For every $100 spent at local merchants, $68 stays within the community, according to IndependentWeStand.org.
Small Business Saturday is one of the biggest day of sales for the 23 million small businesses in the U.S. who represent about 54 percent of all U.S . retail sales, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). Spending money locally helps boost small businesses, which helps them create jobs, which in turn powers the economy and revitalizes our community. Shop small, spread the word and know that you’re doing your part by giving back to the community you live in! It’s a win win for all.
Wishing you all happy small business shopping day!