Katherine A. Harris, executive vice president at First County Bank, was named president and chief operating officer of the bank by the board of directors. She replaced Rey Giallongo who was named chairman and chief executive officer on Wednesday.
As president and chief operating officer, Harris will direct, control and coordinate the bank’s daily operations to ensure goals and objectives are met. Through division/department heads, Harris’ responsibilities include retail and small business banking, loan and deposit operations, compliance/risk management, marketing, human resources and the First County Bank Foundation. She will participate in short- and long-term planning; ensure compliance with all applicable regulations; and participate in establishing overall direction and mission of the bank.
“We’re really proud to have Kathy Harris as our president and chief operating officer of First County,” said Rey Giallongo, chairman and CEO First County Bank. “Kathy is a bank veteran who has been with the bank for 26 years. She helped form the First County Bank Foundation with Richard Taber in 2001 and under her tutelage the bank grew from six to 15 branches.” Harris brought a new service culture to First County when she joined in 1985 and cultivated a strong customer service training program and evaluation process.
“Kathy was instrumental in driving growth at the bank,” added Giallongo. “When she joined the bank, First County had 125 employees and $365 million in assets. Today, we have more than 200 employees and $1.3 billion in assets and growing.”
Harris joined First County Bank as an assistant vice president and branch manager. Her responsibilities steadily increased through the years until she became senior vice president retail banking in 1998, a position she held until June 2010, when she was promoted to executive vice president. As head of the retail banking division, Harris managed all 15 branches, including more than 150 employees. She also was responsible for consumer lending, marketing and sales, call center services, employee training and the foundation.
From 1991 to 1998, Harris was a vice president and branch administrator, and from 1990 to 1991, she held the title of assistant vice president, regional manager. From 1975 to 1985, Harris was a branch manager and consumer loan specialist with Sheridan Bank in Peoria, Ill.
“I have worked most of my professional career at First County Bank and this promotion means a lot to me,” said Harris, a Sandy Hook, Conn. resident. “I will use this experience to take First County Bank to its next level as one of the region’s leading community banks,” Harris said, adding, “I thank the board of directors and all of the people I have worked with over the years. It’s because of their hard work and commitment to First County Bank that I owe this appointment.”
Harris is a member of the Management Development Committee for America’s Community Bankers Connecticut School of Finance and Management. She is a board member of Junior Achievement of Southwest Connecticut and the Stamford Partnership. She volunteers at the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, an organization that works with high school students who want to launch their own business after graduation.
Harris earned a master’s degree in counseling and human resource development, and earned a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Bridgeport. Prior to the University of Bridgeport, Harris studied business at Illinois Central College. She did additional studies at America’s Community Bankers’ National School of Banking at Fairfield University and at the Connecticut School of Finance and Management.