In Our Community

First County Team Commits to #BeTheChange at ‘MarcUS for Change’ 5K

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

This month, a team of our dedicated employees joined hundreds in committing to “Be the change” at the “MarcUS for Change” 5K road race in Stamford. The mission of MarcUS for Change is to “improve the academic, social, and mental well being of at-risk middle school and high school children,” according to their website, by coordinating local and national opportunities for mentoring, academic support, extracurricular activities, and social development.

The charity was founded in honor of an at-risk student, Marcus Dixon McInerney,  who escaped a life of violence and truancy thanks to the help of a local family offering him a stable home and guidance. His life was cut short in a tragic accident in 2012. “MarcUS for Change” inspires the community to be the change kids need, especially during middle and high school.

First County Bank employees Stella Amortegui, Oscar Carrillo, and Aziza Moustaine joined for team leader Shaun Intriago for the first time. Shaun has participated in the event since its beginning, six years ago. Patryzja Carrillo, Oscar’s wife, and Gabriel, Stella’s son, also joined in the fun.

“MarcUS for change is important because it supports youth mentorships but also celebrates the life of Marcus McInerney Dixon and Marcus Hall,” Shaun said. “Hundreds of participants came out to the event which featured a parade, an international dance festival, and dozens of children’s activities.”

Proceeds from the race went to support the Stamford Public Education Foundation, Stamford High School, the Mayor’s Youth Employment program, the Stamford Youth Foundation football and cheerleading programs, Kids Helping Kids, RF Boxing’s “Stand Up for Youth” 5K, the Rachel Sottosanti Foundation for Mental Health, the Abilis Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford.

For more information, visit the MarcUS for Change website: http://www.marcusforchange.org/

Pictured left to right: Patryzja Carrillo, Gabriel Amortegui, Stella Amortegui, Oscar Carrillo, Aziza Moustaine, Shaun Intriago

Bank News

Start Your Career at First County Bank—It’s Where You Belong

Want to join a talented, professional organization that cares about the community? Join our team at First County Bank!

A career in banking offers a competitive salary, excellent benefits, paid holidays and the opportunity to work with a stellar team of employees who go above and beyond the call of duty to meet the needs of our customers. Working in the banking industry provides a wide variety of personal and career growth opportunities as well as the possibility of career progression, competitive pay and benefits.

Currently, we’re looking for an Underwriter to join our Loan Processing team; a Building Maintenance Worker to join our Administrative Services team; and a Teller Supervisor and a Part-Time Teller to join our Retail Banking team.

Apply here: https://www.firstcountybank.com/careers

Bank News, In Our Community

Local Public School Teachers Can Apply Now for FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers

First County Bank Foundation is pleased to announce that applications are now being accepted for the annual FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers, a grant program developed exclusively for public school K-5 grade teachers.

The FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers was established in 2016 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of First County Bank Foundation. Eligible grant recipients are Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers in Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Westport, Fairfield and neighboring communities of Bridgeport public school districts. Grant applications are accepted now through the deadline of October 31, 2018 and are available online at FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers or http://firstcountybank.com/firstclass-grant.

“This is an exciting program supporting teachers to help them provide supplemental educational programs to their students, which otherwise may not have been affordable,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, president of First County Bank Foundation and chairman, CEO of First County Bank. “It is rewarding to observe students’ joy of learning from these innovative programs. This is one way First County Bank Foundation demonstrates its commitment to supporting families, children and education in the communities we serve.”

FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers was designed by First County Bank Foundation to help teachers fund programs fostering creative education in and beyond the classroom. Special consideration will be given to requests that are creative, innovative and have lasting impact. Examples of program topics include nature-based, astronomy, financial literacy, conservation, environmental, music or art. Examples of past grants are available at FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers or http://firstcountybank.com/firstclass-grant.

Starting in November, grants will be awarded with funds available for use during the 2018-19 school year. Applications for the FirstClass Grant Program for Teachers can be conveniently completed online at www.firstcountybank.com/firstclass-grant. Requested grant amounts may not exceed $1,000 and principal authorization is required. Grant requests for books, magazine subscriptions, school trips and computer equipment such as tablets or laptops are not eligible. Questions can be answered by contacting 203-462-4858. Deadline for applications is October 31, 2018.

Digital Connection

#DigitalConnection: Protect Your Business with Positive Pay

Are you proactively protecting your business against fraud? First County Bank offers business owners Positive Pay services to prevent check and ACH fraud before it’s too late. These services provide fraud protection by monitoring each check and ACH transaction that clear your business account daily.

Positive Pay offers easy-to-use online tools for reviewing these transactions. The online system matches an uploaded file of issued checks against those presented for payment to ensure that only authorized payments are processed. Business owners are notified automatically by email if fraud is suspected, providing the best practice in prevention.

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

First County Bank Profile

Employee Profile: Meet Mark Ayen

Meet Mark Ayen– VP and Network Manager of the IT Department. Mark has been with the Bank for 17 years.

Tell us a little about yourself – feel free to include information about your family, hobbies and/or involvement in the community:

I was born in California, but have lived in lower Fairfield County most of my life.  Currently, I live in Norwalk with my wife, MaryLynn, and daughter, Veronica.  All three of us are taking classes.  I am in the UConn part-time MBA program; MaryLynn is working towards an accounting degree; and Veronica is a high school student at Brien McMahon high school.

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

My position affords me the opportunity to with colleagues in all functional areas of the Bank.  I enjoy learning about how the different operating divisions work together to create a functioning whole and using that knowledge to ensure IT provides a high level of service to its internal customers.                                                                        

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers, and how do you respond?

The most common question I receive from my fellow employees, who are my internal customers, is probably, “Can I have a new…”?  I use this question as an opportunity as a springboard for conversations about the customer’s actual need and the best way to resolve it.  Sometimes, the best way is by providing the new equipment or application originally requested, but sometimes we’re able to determine a better way that they didn’t originally consider.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment? This can be any moment at the Bank that has made an impact on your life.

My favorite First County Bank moment came before I even started working at the Bank.  When I was working for another bank, I attended a conference and was the sole attendee from my institution.  I ran into Tom Bartram and Toni Pellegrino (whom I had met at previous events), who invited me to hang out with the First County Bank contingent.  I had a great time and resolved to work for First County Bank if the opportunity ever presented itself.  A couple of years later, I had an opportunity to work for First County Bank and I jumped at the chance!

Bank News, In Our Community

October Food Drive

Please join us in collecting non-perishable food donations during the month of October for The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. Last year, food drives provided one-third of all the food distributed by The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, Inc. Through the efforts of local businesses, schools, churches and clubs, the organization helped feed over 200,000 individuals in the community.

The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County provides food to any qualified non-profit agency in a six-town area which includes soup kitchens, homeless shelters, food pantries, child day care centers, after school programs, senior centers and rehabilitation programs.

In Fairfield County, a family of four needs an annual salary of about $71,000 to avoid being “food insecure,” i.e. lacking reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. Often, the working poor only earn Connecticut’s minimum wage, and many choose between eating nutritiously or paying the rent. Therefore, they obtain food via food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters that are member agencies of The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, Inc.

Food Insecurity in Connecticut

  • 13.9% of Connecticut residents are food insecure and 6% are very food insecure
  • Only 51 students participate in free and reduced price breakfast for every 100 in lunch.
  • Only 53% of the eligible working poor participate in the SNAP (food stamps) program. Many go to food pantries instead for food.
  • Over 700,000 Connecticut adults are living below the Federal poverty level.
  • Over 118,000 Connecticut children are living in poverty.

Source EndHungerCT.org

Now through Wednesday, October 31, First County Bank will serve as a donation center and we encourage the community to bring in canned goods, boxed goods and other non-perishable food items to help stock the shelves.

Will you be a part of the change and #BankonEndingHunger this October by donating to The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County? Please stop by one of our branches to bring your non-perishable food items now through the end of October.

For branch locations visit: https://www.firstcountybank.com/branch-hours-locations-and-directions

Bank News, In Our Community, Smart Savings Tips

FirstPrize $avings Winner: Evelin S. Molina-Payes

First County Bank congratulates the recent winner of the FirstPrize $avings account prize drawing– Evelin S. Molina-Payes of Stamford, CT. Evelin is a college student and plans to use her $1,000 winnings on text books and other class supplies.

The FirstPrize $avings account is a basic savings account with a cash prize drawing component to promote personal savings. With each eligible deposit of $25 or more, the account holder earns an entry into a drawing for a $1,000 prize. The drawing occurs four times per calendar year.

Account details, rules and regulations are posted on the First County Bank savings account website: https://firstcountybank.com/firstprize-savings. To learn more about the FirstPrize $avings account, click view the official FirstPrize $avings Account Official Rules which may be found in the Savings Account Disclosure.

Pictured left to right:  Executive Vice President Willard Miley; Branch Manager Edens Fleurizard; prize winner; Evelin S. Molina-Payes, President and COO, Bob Granata.

First County Bank Profile

Employee Profile: Meet Lorraine Russo

Meet Lorraine Russo, a part-time receptionist at our Prospect Street location. Lorraine has been with us for two months.

Tell us a little about yourself – feel free to include information about your family, hobbies and/or involvement in the community:

I am a big fan of old black and white movies, even silent movies. I love to read, and my favorite author is Henning Mankell, a Swedish author whose books are very hard to find. When they do come out they have to be translated from Swedish to English which can take a year or two. I have read most of his books and have also have read all of Agatha Christie books. I‘m now moving on to finish all of Kate Morton’s books. My daughter says I am a voracious reader!

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

 I like being the receptionist and helping our customers with their inquiries.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers, and how do you respond?

Most customers I come across want to check their balance on their accounts.  I transfer them to the Call Center which will further assist them.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment? This can be any moment at the Bank that has made an impact on your life.

It was very rewarding to be able to help a customer with special needs find out more information about his account.

Anything else you’d like to say about your experience at the Bank?

Everyone at the Bank is very nice and very helpful.

Digital Connection

#DigitalConnection: Online Banking Made Easy for Business Customers with Direct Connect

Business Banking ‎users have the ability to integrate Online Banking transactions with Quicken® or QuickBooks™ ‎for a more efficient banking experience. Business customers must be enrolled in Quicken® and QuickBooks™ ‎Direct Connect through First County Bank Online Banking. Once enrolled, customers can download transactions for faster end of month reconciliation & enhanced cash flow, eliminating the need for double entry of online bills. Please review our fee disclosures for business accounts or contact Cash Management Services: (203) 462-4379.

Smart Savings Tips

An Apple a Day: Life Insurance Awareness Month

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Have you had your apple today? Stop by any of our branches to get yours and learn more about protecting your assets during “Life Insurance Awareness Month” this September.

In an effort to encourage our customers to review their protection needs, the branches have created some fun ways to get you to think about the importance of life insurance.   Insurance can seem complicated and overwhelming, but as trusted advisors, we are here to be sure you know that we can help with all of your financial needs, including protecting your family from the unexpected.

Life insurance can help secure the financial future of your loved ones, help with funeral costs and pay off any outstanding debts. If you’re a parent, life insurance can help to pay for tuition and other educational expenses for your child. Buying a life insurance policy can help ensure that your family doesn’t have to rely on your retirement savings for financial support should anything happen.

Call our CustomerFirst Contact Center at (203) 462-4400 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. of stop by any one of our 16 conveniently located branches to learn more.

For branch locations visit: https://www.firstcountybank.com/branch-hours-locations-and-directions