Smart Savings Tips

7 Money Tips to Bank On

moneybankAs some Americans face unprecedented financial burdens such as student debt, the American Bankers Association is highlighting seven money tips to help them plan for a financially sound future.

“With student debt and high housing costs creating challenges for many, now is a better time than ever for to map out your finances and invest in your future,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “Banks can help with everything from free budgeting tools and mobile resources to in-person check-ups to help you identify and reach your financial goals.”

ABA recommends these seven tips to help you secure a strong financial footing:

  1. Shop around. Be selective and choose a bank that’s best for your lifestyle. There are lots of banking options out there with different advantages – whether it’s the lowest fees, the widest range of services, the most convenient locations or the best loan rates.
  2. Get a head start. Banks play a major role in helping customers prepare for major life events such as buying a house and planning for retirement. Ask your banker how you can get a head start on your first major purchase by establishing credit or starting a retirement account.
  3. Don’t miss out on free money for your future. If your employer matches your 401(k) or other retirement contributions, contribute enough from day one to get the full match. It’s free money, and its value compounds over time.
  4. Save without thinking about it. Make saving a part of your lifestyle with automatic payroll deductions or automatic transfers from checking to savings. Arrange to have a specific amount transferred to your savings account every pay period.
  5. Tap into bank tech to make smarter decisions. By literally tapping into your bank’s mobile app, you can track your transactions and manage your finances. Some bank apps even highlight money-saving deals at nearby retailers. Be sure to download the latest app updates when they are available.
  6. Sign up for email or text alerts. Keeps tabs on your money by asking for an automatic alert when your balance falls below a certain level, or to confirm when certain types of transactions occur, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $20.
  7. Expect the unexpected – set up a rainy day fund. The last thing you want to be is stressed when life’s unexpected expenditures come knocking on your door. Set up a secondary checking or savings account for emergencies or link an existing account to your main account as an added layer of protection.

For additional consumer tips from ABA on things like mortgages, credit cards, fighting fraud, or saving for college, visit www.firstcountybank.com.

First County Bank Foundation, In Our Community

Proud to Support ARI of Connecticut, Women’s Business Development Council, United Way of Greenwich, and Waveny Lifecare Network

We are honored to give back to our local communities – here are a few more 2017 Grant recipients!

Pictured:

ARI of Connecticut, Inc. – $7,500
“Enriching the lives of people with disabilities and their families by enabling them to achieve their fullest potential at home, at work, and in the community.” Pictured (Left to Right): Mark D. Rosenbloom, VP, Manager Cash Management Services, First County Bank, Rick Zaremski, SVP, Commercial Lending Manager, Susanne D. Kuligowski, President & CEO, ARI of Connecticut, Inc., Rickey Denes, Board Member, ARI of Connecticut, Inc.

Women’s Business Development Council, Inc. – $3,500
“The Women’s Business Development Council empowers women and men to become thriving employers and more effective employees. From starting or growing a business to increasing income, the Women’s Business Development Council illuminates business success in a tangible and accessible way.” Pictured (Left to Right): Sara Tucker, SVP, Director Business Banking, First County Bank, Karen Kelly, SVP, CMO, First County Bank, Fran Pastore, CEO, Women’s Business Development Council, Inc., Chrisopher Landino, Development Director, Women’s Business Development Council, Inc., Sandra Greer, VP, Trust & Investment Officer, First County Bank.

United Way of Greenwich, CT – $2,500
Their mission is to “mobilize the community in strategic efforts to identify and address critical human service needs.” Pictured (Left to Right): Jagjiwan Singh, AVP, Business Development Officer, First County Bank, Jeremy Nappi, Director of Development, United Way of Greenwich, Jeff Robinson, AVP, Branch Manager Greenwich, First County Bank.

Waveny Lifecare Network – $5,000
Waveny Lifecare “provides a comprehensive continuum of healthcare to serve the changing needs of seniors from all areas.” Pictured (Left to Right): Joanne Boyer, Director of Development, Waveny Lifecare Network, Cynthia Gorey, Vice President of Development, Waveny Lifecare Network, Agnieszka Maciejewski, AVP, Branch Manager New Canaan, First County Bank, David Van Buskirk, AVP, Business Development Officer, First County Bank.

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Featured Photo

 

 

Sponsorships & Events

First County Bank Presenting Sponsor of 40th Anniversary of the Norwalk Seaport Association’s Oyster Festival

Photo caption L to R: Mike Reilly, Norwalk Seaport Association president and Oyster Festival chairman, along with Reyno Giallongo, chairman and CEO, First County Bank. As the presenting sponsor, First County Bank presents their sponsorship check to the Norwalk Seaport Association for the 2017 Oyster Festival.

Photo caption L to R: Mike Reilly, Norwalk Seaport Association president and Oyster Festival chairman, along with Reyno Giallongo, chairman and CEO, First County Bank. As the presenting sponsor, First County Bank presents their sponsorship check to the Norwalk Seaport Association for the 2017 Oyster Festival.

First County Bank is pleased to announce the sponsorship of the 40th Anniversary of the annual Norwalk Seaport Association’s Oyster Festival being held from Friday, September 8 to Sunday, September 10, at Veteran’s Park, adjacent to Norwalk Harbor on Seaview Avenue in Norwalk. The Bank has been the event’s presenting sponsor for ten years, since 2007.

First County Bank employees and senior management will be manning a tent at the entrance to the Oyster Festival. Attendees can stop by the tent to meet the team and pick up free giveaways. The Oyster Festival offers three days of continuous family-friendly activities and entertainment. Entertainment headliners include Mike DelGuidice and Big Shot, Desert Highway, an Eagles tribute band, and Eight to the Bar.

“We are excited to once again take part in the Norwalk Oyster Festival as the presenting sponsor,” said Rey Giallongo, chairman and CEO of First County Bank. “As a community bank, we see events such as these as wonderful opportunities to get involved in our community and support local nonprofit organizations.”

“To celebrate our 40th Festival, we are thrilled to be back to a full schedule for three days and three nights, from Friday and Saturday we are open until 11pm and Sunday until 8pm,” said Mike Reilly, Norwalk Seaport Association president and Oyster Festival chairman. “The Norwalk Seaport Association thanks First County Bank for supporting the Festival as Presenting Sponsor for the last ten years.”

The Oyster Festival offers other popular including the Nerveless Nocks Thrill Show performing motorcycle high wire acts and other daredevil stunts (www.nervelessnocks.com). The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show (www.lumberjackent.com) is returning to present their popular show. The Kids Cove area offers children and families rides, carnival games and children’s live entertainment. The Arts & Crafts Pavilion features over 100 artisans and crafters with items for sale. The Food Court offers international specialties, an oyster slurping contest and seafood, while the Craft Beer Tent features over 40 varieties of beer.

First County Bank Foundation, In Our Community

Proud to Support Inspirica, Ferguson Library, Laurel House, and the Greenwich Alliance for Education

 

Pictured:

Inspirica – $10,000
Inspirica’s mission is “to break the cycle of homelessness by helping people achieve – and maintain – permanent housing and stability in their lives.” Pictured (Left to Right): Karen Kelly, SVP, Chief Marketing Officer, First County Bank, Mark D. Rosenbloom, VP, Manager Cash Management Services, First County Bank, Jason T. Shaplen, CEO, Inspirica, Inc., Edens Fleurizard, AVP, Branch Manager Prospect St., First County Bank, Richard Zaremski, SVP, Commercial Lending Manager.

Greenwich Alliance for Education – $5,000
The Greenwich Alliance for Education “mobilizes community resources to foster educational success for all Greenwich Public School students.” Pictured (Left to Right): Jeff Robinson, AVP, Branch Manager, Greenwich, First County Bank, Julie Faryniarz, Executive Director, Greenwich Alliance for Education, Jagjiwan Singh, AVP, Business Development Officer, First County Bank.

Laurel House, Inc. – $7,500
“Laurel House provides mental health resources to people coping with mental illness, and their families, across numerous communities in and around Connecticut.” Pictured (Left to Right): Camilo Duque, AVP, Branch Manager Summer St., First County Bank, Linda Autore, President and CEO, Laurel House, Inc., Greg Pauletti, Thinking Well Program Manager, Laurel House, Inc., Michael Yao, VP, Senior Commercial Banking Officer, First County Bank.

Ferguson Library – $10,000
Ferguson Library’s mission is to “provide free and equal access to information, ideas, books and technology to educate and enrich the Stamford community.” Pictured (Left to Right): Mark D. Rosenbloom, VP, Manager Cash Management Services, First County Bank, Michael Yao, VP, Senior Commercial Banking Officer, First County Bank, Alice S. Knapp, President, Ferguson Library, Elizabeth Joseph, Coordinator, Information and Adult Services, Ferguson Library, David Metzgar, SVP, Senior Trust Officer.

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Featured Photo

 

Smart Savings Tips

Smart Back to School Shopping

FCB_FirstClassGrantEach year, summer passes in a seemingly never-ending whirlwind of poolside fun, time with friends and family BBQs. But, as we flip our calendars from July to August, it’s impossible to miss that the back-to-school season is just around the corner. As always, with its return is the demand for new backpacks, sharpened pencils and fresh sneakers. So how can you save money when faced with long supply lists? Here are a few tips on being a smart consumer:

  1. Get the list of mandatory school supplies from the school or teachers.
    This list should tell you exactly what you need for the upcoming school year, so you don’t have to guess.
  1. Shop your home then make a list
    Before you go on a big shopping spree, look through your drawers and closets to see what you already have and let this act as your starting point. From there, make a list of what you need to purchase and bring it to the store with you. This list, as well as the one offered by the school,  will help keep you on track while shopping.
  1. Set a budget
    Each year, stores seem to have even wider selections of school supplies to offer. It can be hard to resist buying that extra videogame, new toy or scented markers. Like having a list ahead of time, setting a budget before you shop encourages you to separate needs from wants.
  1. Look out for savings
    Before you set out on your shopping adventure, remember to search for savings opportunities and to amass any coupons. Signing up for Target’s REDcard gets you five percent off every purchase and free online shipping. Online, Kohl’s, Walmart, Staples and many other retailers offer back-to-school deals. In addition, Bed Bath and Beyond sends its customers coupons throughout the year which do not expire.
  1. Shop around
    While stores like Target and Walmart seem to have everything you could possibly need in one fell swoop, shopping around at different stores can help you find the best deals. Don’t be afraid to expand your search to online shopping, where sites like Amazon offer exclusive content or the opportunity to buy in bulk.
  1. Spend where it matters
    Saving money is always good, but it’s important to remember that some things merit the higher cost. Spending extra on a sturdy backpack that won’t fall apart midway through the year, for example, is a wise investment. For kids going to college, splurging on a comfortable mattress topper or bedspread will ensure a good night’s sleep throughout the year.
  1. Hold off on winter wear
    Although it may be tempting to buy for future seasons right now while sales are hot, hold off on buying winter gear. The clothes you buy now will be wearable for a few months and come November, there will be another round of sales for those long pants you really like. In addition, you never know when the 2 inch growth spurt may happen, which can make purchases for the future become too small and thus a waste of money.
  1. Mind the date
    One special week to mark down is Sunday, August 20th through Saturday, August 26th, when Connecticut holds its tax holiday week. For those days, the state gives customers a tax exclusion – a break from Connecticut’s normal 6.35% sales tax rate – on clothing and footwear less than $100. Take advantage of this once a year offer!
  1. Travel smart
    When you’re packing the car for college, space can prove quite the challenge. Take advantage of stores that allow customers to order school and dorm room supplies and have them set aside for you at the store closest to your son or daughter’s college. For example, Bed Bath and Beyond will reserve items selected online and set them aside at the store nearest the college. Upon arrival, you can choose to either purchase what you have set aside, or to not buy those items. Target’s order pickup option allows customers to shop online and pick up their order in select stores.  Shopping this way helps you save on car space, shipping costs, and unnecessary merchandise.  It also assures your reserved items will be available for you so you avoid the too frequent, and very disappointing, “empty-shelves-syndrome” in the college town.

 

First County Bank Foundation, In Our Community

Proud to Support The Center, Starfish Connection, Homes with Hope & the Community Fund of Darien – United Way

Engagement in the nonprofit community is in our DNA, here at First County Bank. Take a look at these check deliveries!

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Pictured:
The Center – $5,000
“Serving the eight towns of lower Fairfield County since 1979, The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education provides free, 24-hour confidential help to men, women and children who have experienced sexual assault.” Pictured (Left to Right): Edens Fleurizard, AVP, Branch Manager Prospect St., First County Bank, Ivonne Zucco, Executive Director, The Center, Jeffrey Costa, AVP, Trust Officer, First County Bank.

Starfish Connection – $4,000
Starfish Connection’s “mission is to help academically talented youth from low income families reach their potential and their dreams of attending college by providing mentorship and support in education along with enrichment and extracurricular activities.” Pictured (Left to Right): Janet Schneider, Executive Director, Starfish Connection and Jack Dowling, VP, Commercial Banker, First County Bank.

Homes with Hope, Inc. – $10,000
“Homes with Hope assists people who have lost their ability to remain in their own homes.” Pictured (Left to Right): Steve Ferguson, AVP, Business Development Officer, First County Bank, Karen Mahar, Director of Resource & Development, Homes with Hope, Inc., Jeff Wieser, President & CEO, Homes with Hope, Inc., Beth Brucker, Mortgage Loan Originator, First County Bank, Duncan Lee, Branch Manager Westport, First County Bank.

Community Fund of Darien – United Way – $2,500
The Community Fund of Darien is a “nonprofit organization that addresses health and human services needs in Darien and our surrounding towns of Stamford and Norwalk.” Pictured (Left to Right): Aitza Cabrera, AVP, Branch Manager Darien, Mortgage Loan Originator, First County Bank, Carrie Bernier, Executive Director, Community Fund of Darien, Steve Ward, President, Community Fund of Darien, Mark D. Rosenbloom, VP, Manager Cash Management Services, First County Bank.

Bank News

Newly Enhanced Online Bill Pay System!

MobilePhoneIconWe are excited to announce that we have recently updated our Online Bill Pay system! With our new Online Bill Pay system you’ll be able to manage all of your bill payments with ease. Our new Bill Pay system will be more intuitive and designed to make it easier for you to pay bills. You will enjoy quicker payment speeds, the industry’s leading eBill service, and enhanced mobile functionality.

The new Online Bill Pay system offers new and improved features and functionalities such as:

  • Enhanced eBills
  • The ability to group “like” biller/payees together
  • Later cut-off times – Certain bill payments can be set up as late as 10:00 p.m.
  • Make recurring payments
  • Payment scheduling options interact with eBills 
  • Schedule payment reminders and alerts
  • Search pre-catalogued payees
  • Rush payment options
  • Extended payment history available
  • Alerts and enhanced fraud monitoring to protect you from unauthorized payments

To learn more about our newly enhanced Online Bill Pay System, click here or visit: www.firstcountybank.com/bill-pay-upgrade.

First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Anna Maria Pace

AnnaMaria Pace

Anna Maria Pace

Meet Anna Maria Pace, Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager of the West Main Street Branch NMLS# 773365.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been with First County for 8 years, the last 4 years as a Branch Manager at the West Main Street office; I have been in banking for a total 34 years.   I live in Stamford with my two children and four dogs.  When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my kids and just relaxing at home.

What is your favorite part of your role at First County Bank? 
My favorite part of my role is being able to make a difference in a customer’s life. I love getting to know people and helping them find the best solutions to their banking and financial needs.  It is extremely rewarding when customers that I have helped throughout my career continue to come back for additional banking/financial needs and refer their family and friends to me.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers? 
“I know you can help me with this problem” or “I need your help”

What is your favorite thing to do during the summer?
I love being outdoors, going to the beach or pool, shopping and spending time with friends and family.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite First County Bank moments include helping a family of six (with 4 small children) close on their first home just in time for summer and closing on a very difficult home equity line of credit to help fulfill a couple’s dream kitchen.

First County Bank Foundation, In Our Community

Proud to Support Earthplace, Lockwood-Mathews Mansion, United Way of Western CT & Person-to-Person

Every summer we look forward to supporting local nonprofits and their various missions within our community. Here are a few of the checks we’ve given out so far!

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Pictured:
Earthplace, The Discovery Nature Center – $2,500
“The mission of Earthplace is to build a passion in our community for nature and the environment through education, experience, and action.” Pictured (Left to Right): Duncan Lee, Branch Manager Westport, First County Bank, Beth Brucker, Mortgage Loan Originator, First County Bank, Tony McDowell, Executive Director, Earthplace, The Discovery Nature Center, Steve Ferguson, AVP, Business Development Officer, First County Bank.

Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum – $1,000
“The Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum is regarded as one of the earliest and most significant Second Empire Style country houses in the United States.” Pictured (Left to Right): Susan Gilgore, PhD, Executive Director, Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Mary-Pat Cottrell, Treasurer, Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum, Stephanie Frederick, VP, Systems Manager, First County Bank, Richard Evanko, VP, Business Banking Manager, First County Bank, Patsy R. Brescia, Chairman, Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum.

United Way of Western CT – Stamford – $10,000
United Way of Western CT, “improves the lives of hard-working, struggling households by mobilizing the resources of local communities to create lasting change.” Pictured (Left to Right): Tom Berta, VP, Manager of Branch Sales and Service, First County Bank, Kim Morgan, CEO, United Way of Western CT, Camilo Duque, Branch Manager Summer St., First County Bank.

Person-to-Person – $7,500
“Person-to-Person provides emergency assistance for basic needs plus other support to individuals and families as they move toward financial stability.” Pictured (Left to Right): Aitza Cabrera, AVP, Branch Manager Darien, Mortgage Loan Originator, First County Bank, Ceci Maher, Executive Director, Person-to-Person, Mark D. Rosenbloom, VP, Manager Cash Management Services, First County Bank.

First County Bank Foundation

First County Bank Foundation Awards Three High School Seniors with Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award Scholarships

First County Bank recently announced this year’s recipients of the Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award scholarships. This annual award honors high school students living in lower Fairfield County who consistently demonstrate good citizenship at school, at home and in the community.

The program awards scholarships to three deserving students and is designed to recognize and encourage young people who are honest, hard-working, helpful and fair. Each year, the foundation accepts student applications from the beginning of the year until the end of April; the recipients are notified in May. The award is named after Richard E. Taber who retired as chairman and CEO of First County Bank in March 2011. It is in recognition of Taber’s 40-plus-year career at the bank and innumerable contributions to the community.

Each of the following students were chosen to receive a $5,000 Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award scholarship: Katherine Tracey of Greenwich attends Greenwich High School and will attend University of Notre Dame majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral studies; Luis Quesada of Norwalk attends Academy of Information Technology and Engineering and will attend Norwalk Community College studying general engineering courses; Hayley Smith of Stamford attends Westhill High School and will attend Eckerd College majoring in psychology.

Three checks

Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award scholarship recipients for 2017 are Hayley Smith of Westhill High School, Luis Quesada of AITE and Katherine Tracey of Greenwich High School with Richard E. Taber, retired president of First County Bank Foundation and retired chairman & CEO of First County Bank, Karen M. Kelly, vice president of First County Bank Foundation and senior vice president & CMO of First County Bank and Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., president of First County Foundation and chairman & CEO of First County Bank.

“We are amazed at the caliber of graduating high school seniors applying for the Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award. These students exemplify good citizenship and service to our local communities,” said Rey Giallongo, chairman and CEO of First County Bank, and president of the foundation. “We are excited to present scholarships to these amazing students, knowing that we are supporting future leaders with hearts for service.”

Richard Taber, a member of the board of directors at First County Bank, said, “I am very proud to have my name associated with three such community-minded and talented young adults. With the level of success they have already achieved, I’m certain they will have a successful future.”