The Italian Center says “arrivederci” to its old bank, and “ciao” to a new one – First County Bank.
The Italian Center offers health and fitness facilities, indoor and outdoor recreational activities as well as conference and catering facilities capable of handling hundreds of guests. In addition, it has a summer camp and child day care facilities that are open to the public. “We have almost 30 acres and a 50,000 square foot facility here, so there’s something for everyone,” says Paul Hickey, the Executive Director, “but with something this size, there are always necessary improvements.”
In 2009, the Italian Center was looking for a line of credit to make some of these improvements, when Paul realized it was the right time to change banks. He previously worked with a large money center bank, but felt a disconnect and was concerned about the bank’s lack of community involvement. A fellow board member of the Italian Center heard Paul’s concerns. That member was Nino Antonelli, a Vice President at First County Bank. Nino assured Paul that First County Bank would be able to provide more personalized service.
A meeting was scheduled and Paul knew the minute he met Gene Schreiner, Vice President of Business Banking from First County Bank, that he had made the right call. “Of course, Gene asked me questions about our cash-flow,” he said, “but it was really his other questions that made an indelible mark on me.” Paul was struck by Gene’s inquisitive nature about the center, “he really had a genuine interest in what we were doing as a cultural center, and how we were helping the community.”
They walked through the property together talking about everything from how and why the Italian Center was established, to traffic on the Merritt Parkway and the local high school teams. When they stopped in the grand ballroom, with one of the largest dance floors in all of Fairfield County, Paul realized that he and Gene had yet another thing in common – a commitment to servicing customers. Paul goes out of his way to ensure that every customer receives quality service when they plan events and use the facilities. And, Gene bends over backwards to deliver consistent top-notch customer service to clients when it comes to personalizing financial products and services.
Million dollar loans don’t happen overnight, and with every meeting, Paul became more and more impressed with First County Bank. “You know everyone and they know you,” he added. The deal was such a success, that the Italian Center moved its checking, payroll, savings and CDs to First County Bank.