Small Business Profile, Smart Savings Tips

Celebrate National Small Business Week

This week, National Small Business Week will be celebrated across the country. We constantly hear the challenges and successes of starting and maintaining a small business; however, we don’t hear enough about the impact small businesses make in our community.

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced, “National Small Business Week is being held from April 29-May 5 and is an annual event hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration to recognize the nation’s top small businesses, entrepreneurs, small business advocates and champions. Every day they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.”

We look forward to celebrating Small Business Week this week and every week by continually highlighting business events in our community and financial solutions for small businesses. You can participate by shopping local and continuing to support local, small businesses.

First County Bank Profile

#FridaysinFairfield: Meet Jorge Palencia Soto

Meet Jorge Palencia Soto, Teller at our Farifield Branch in this edition of #FridaysinFairfield.

Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi everyone, my name is Jorge Palencia Soto. I was born and raised in Stamford, CT.  I started with the Bank in the beginning of July 2017, I have worked for 8 months now. I started at the West Main branch as a floating teller, I was later transferred to the Shippan Branch. As a “floater” I have had the opportunity to learn a lot of things and have gotten to know a lot of people. So far I have been able to work at 8 branches! In my spare time I like to dance and go out with my friends.

What separates First County Bank from other Banks?
I believe what separates First County Bank from other banks is the customer service we provide; from the minute a customer walks in we greet them and make them feel welcome and at home, because as our logo says, “It’s where you belong”. Also another great thing about the Bank is the diversity of our tellers, this makes it easier for the customer to come, get help and actually walk out satisfied.

What excites you the most about the newly opened Fairfield Branch?
What excites me the most about the Fairfield Branch is that we are located in the middle of Fairfield, there are many nice places to visit in this area.

What’s something someone may not know about First County Bank?
Something that someone would not know about First County Bank is that we offer similar products and services as other banks, but the best part is that we do it with the best customer service.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite First County Bank moment is being the floater and getting to know new customers and coworkers!

Bank News, Customer Profile, Smart Savings Tips

First County Bank Announces Winner of FirstPrize $avings Account Drawing

First County Bank is excited to announce the recent winners of the FirstPrize $avings account $1,000 drawing is Manav Des Puri of Stamford, CT. This innovative account called FirstPrize $avings 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.

Bob Granata, president and COO, Mirella Martina, AVP, branch manager and Reyno Giallongo, chairman and CEO of First County Bank, present Manav Des Puri with $1,000, as winner of the recent FirstPrize $avings account drawing. To encourage personal savings, the $1,000 prize is directly deposited into the winners’ FirstPrize $avings account. Account details, rules and regulations are posted on the First County Bank savings account website: https://firstcountybank.com/firstprize-savings.

First County Bank Profile

AITE Branch, Student-Employee Profile: Meet Anoushka Chatterjee

Anoushka Chatterjee, First County Bank, AITE Branch Student-Employee.

In this First County Bank Profile we stopped by our limited-access branch at the Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE) in Stamford to meet soon-to-be AITE Graduate Anoushka Chatterjee.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a senior here at AITE and will attend Indiana University in the fall, I was admitted directly to the Kelley School of Business. I hope to major in Information Systems with a minor in either accounting or finance. My interest in business sparked when I took accounting last year, and I look forward to continuing my passion for the next four years.

Outside of school, I am a swimmer and swim for Zeus and Norwalk High School Girls Swim Team. In the fall, I was named FCIAC Scholar Athlete of the Month. I currently live in Norwalk, with a sister who attends the University of Wisconsin. Since my junior year, I have worked at Kumon Tutoring Center in Westport as well as played the cello in the Norwalk Youth Symphony. This is my second term working at the First County Bank, AITE Branch.

What were your initial thoughts about being a First County Bank, AITE Branch student-employee?
Initially, I thought it would be a great opportunity especially since I took Accounting I last year, and continued with Accounting II this year.

I also thought it would be perfect exposure to be a part of a business and learn how to consult with customers as a high school senior. Attaining these skills will benefit me as I go into business school, as I will have a better idea of what it’s like to work in the real world.

What surprised you the most about your experience in the financial industry?
I was surprised with the sense of responsibility that came from learning all the terms of confidentiality and detail to accuracy required. I was impressed with how technology has become so advanced in today’s society to make banking transactions easier for this job. Today there is apple pay, remote deposits, and the ability to deposit checks on mobile once we receive it.

What’s a key educational takeaway from your experience?
A key educational takeaway from this experience would be from the monthly BAI tests that we are required to take. They are essential for our jobs and allow us to learn a new skill each month. Some examples of what we have learned are: Identity theft (defend against someone from having their identity get stolen), OFAC regulation (determining someone’s past and risk), bank safety/robbery training (how to stay safe during a robbery).

How will you use the skills you’ve learned in college?
With this job, I’ve really learned to be disciplined and the importance of deadlines. Since I am pursuing business, everything I learned in financial services will help me for when I have presentations, internships and job opportunities. Managing money with today’s expenses and high costs is not easy, which is why it’s important to save as much as possible and start a 401(k) in the first job you get.

What financial tip or lesson would you share with a friend or family member based on your experience?
If there was one thing I learned from this experience, it would be how essential it is to be responsible with money and managing spending within means of your current salary. It’s extremely vital for people to understand the importance of budgets and how much one can spend. After going through this experience, I learned how difficult it can get having to pay off debts, so I strongly believe that one must value the concept of saving money.

Bank News, Trends & Tips

Homebuyer Seminar: Wednesday, April 25th

Buying or refinancing a home? Learn where to start, what to consider and the do’s & don’ts.

Join First County Bank Mortgage Loan Originator, Justyna Nurczyk and Fairfield County mortgage experts to learn the ins and outs of the home-buying process. Wednesday, April 25 5:30-7:00 PM 469 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06850 Seating is limited, please RSVP.

MEET THE EXPERTS:

  • Arlene Bubbico Realtor, Coldwell Banker
  • Annie Bonanno Consultant, Credit Repair Solutions
  • Richard Sandor, Esq. Attorney-At-Law

DETAILS:

  • Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 – 5:30pm to 7:00pm
  • Location: Norwalk Branch, 469 Westport Avenue, Norwalk CT
  • Contact: Norwalk Branch, 203.462.4415

For more info and to RSVP call (203)462-4415 or email norwalk1@firstcountybank.com. Refreshments will be served.

Bank News

First County Bank celebrates newly opened Fairfield Branch with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Earlier this month, we celebrated our newly opened Fairfield Branch located at 1312 Post Road with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

Photo: L to R – Mark Barnhart, economic development director, Town of Fairfield; Robert Granata, president and COO, First County Bank; Michael Tetreau, first selectman, Town of Fairfield; Reyno Giallongo, chairman and CEO, First County Bank; Beverly Balaz, president, Fairfield Chamber of Commerce; and Benedict Peter, branch manager of the First County Bank Fairfield Branch, attended the First County Bank Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on April 4 to celebrate the newly opened Fairfield Branch, located at 1312 Post Road, Fairfield, CT. A reception for local dignitaries and members of the business, commercial lending, mortgage departments and the wealth management division of First County Bank was held immediately after the ceremony.

First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Meet Beth Brucker

Meet Beth Brucker, Mortgage Loan Originator for the Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield Branches of First County Bank.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I service the Westport, Norwalk and Fairfield Branches of First County Bank.   In addition, I also work out of the main office of residential lending at Prospect Street, Stamford and service clients all over CT.   I have been with the bank since November 2016 and wished I moved to First County Bank much earlier in my career.

Volunteering is a passion to me and I am very involved in the communities of Fairfield County. For over a decade I was active with the Fairfield Women Exchange in Southport and am looking to rejoin this group again. In Westport, I have been a board officer and a Special Paul Harris Award Recipient for the Westport Rotary Club and serve as the Lobsterfest Volunteer Chair.

What separates First County Bank from other Banks?
First County Bank provides unparalleled customer service.   We are true to the meaning of a “community bank”. In residential lending, our upfront “commitment/pre-approval” without a property, “make sense underwriting”, their “sure fire closing process”, and everyone “under one roof” makes the loan process streamlined.    It is the best process I have witnessed in the residential lending business.

What excites you the most about the newly opened Fairfield Branch?
The opportunity to return to a town that was so much a part of me and my family.   Other than living in Southport, CT and volunteering at the Fairfield Women’s Exchange for over a decade, my roots are deeply seated in the Fairfield and Westport communities.   I graduated from Fairfield University and my daughters graduated from the Fairfield school system.   My husband practiced law in the town of Fairfield and played a big part in the development of The Ridge in Fairfield, the old Pepperidge Farm Estate.

What’s something someone may not know about First County Bank?
In residential lending, the fact that we issue a true solid commitment/pre-approval signed by our underwriters gives us a competitive advantage and is unique in the industry! Because of this upfront commitment/pre-approval, our closing is expedient and fast.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite First County Bank moment – is every day.   I love what I do because of the strong team that supports me.   I didn’t realize I would feel this way again about the mortgage industry.

Bank News

First County Bank Welcomes New Commercial Lender

 First County Bank is pleased to announce the recent hiring of William Catanzaro, who joins the Bank’s Commercial Banking Division as vice president, commercial banking officer. First County Bank’s addition of Catanzaro demonstrates the Bank’s commitment to its commercial customers and the business community.

“Bill is a Stamford native with over 20 years’ experience in commercial real estate lending. In that time, he has developed an extensive business network in the community. He will be originating and building commercial relationships for the Bank. We know Bill will be a strong contributor to the Bank’s commercial lending team.” said Reyno Giallongo, First County Bank’s chairman and CEO.

Prior to joining First County Bank, Bill held commercial real estate lending and portfolio management positions which focused on the Fairfield County market. Catanzaro has extensive expertise with Commercial and Industrial (C&I) and Commercial Real Estate (C.R.E.) lending.

Catanzaro holds a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from Richmond American International University, London, England and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University, Boston, MA. Bill and his family reside in Stamford, CT.

In Our Community, Smart Savings Tips

First County Bank Sponsors Financial Literacy Programs at Local High Schools

Local students are getting a free education in how to manage their money. First County Bank is working with Banzai, a national award-winning financial literacy program, to offer the completely free financial literacy curriculum available to eight schools in the New Canaan, Fairfield, Norwalk, Stamford, Westport, and Wilton areas.

“Banzai is a web-based financial literacy program,” Morgan Vandagriff, co-founder of Banzai, said. “Kids have their own bank accounts, and they work through assignments that are based on real life. But because First County Bank is sponsoring it, local schools get it for free. More than ever, it’s important that kids develop sound financial skills to prepare them for the real world. First County Bank realizes that, and they’re doing something about it.”

Banzai is an interactive, online program supplemented by printed workbooks which aligns with state curriculum requirements for personal finance education. It has become the largest program of its kind, servicing more than 35,000 teachers and available in all 50 states.

April is National Financial Literacy Month, and it’s dedicated to helping Americans improve their financial well-being. We’re making an extra effort to spread awareness to teachers about this free financial literacy program available to them. First County Bank has offered time, money, industry experience, and a variety of bank resources to help local schools teach personal finance in the classroom.

Students using the program are exposed to real-life scenarios where they learn to pay bills and balance a budget – but it’s not always easy. Students must learn to manage unexpected expenses such as parking tickets, interest charges and overdraft fees. The educational program also introduces students to auto loans, bank statements, entertainment costs, savings and more.

Teachers interested in using the Banzai program can visit firstcountybank.teachbanzai.com or call 888-8-BANZAI.

First County Bank Profile

#FridaysinFairfield: Meet Ruchi Sharma

Meet Ruchi Sharma, Teller at our Fairfield Branch located at 1312 Post Road in this edition of #FridaysinFairfield.

Tell us more about yourself.
My name is Ruchi Sharma and I live in Trumbull with my husband and two daughters. I am from India and we came to the United States in 2006. I like to keep myself busy with different kinds of activities that are related to work, house chores or entertainment. From the beginning, working in a bank and becoming teacher have been my ambitions and I am proud to say that today, I have fulfilled both.

I started my banking career with First County Bank in the Westport branch two years ago. The support and trust I received there as a new comer in banking, is something not only do I appreciate but respect. I will continue to give my best service to the Bank as well as to our customers.

In addition to fulfilling my role at the Bank, I am also the coordinator and teacher of the nonprofit organization HindiUSA. Simply put, I love what I do and there’s nothing stopping me from reaching my full potential.

What separates First County Bank from other banks?
There are many things that set First County Bank apart from other banks. However the most important thing is the enthusiasm towards our customers, which can be seen by our big smiles and the friendly manner and positive attitude we maintain in order to make customers feel like a family member. This is the most prevalent feature that separates us from other banks.

What excites you the most about the new Fairfield branch?
The opportunity to learn more and get to know more about the community’s needs in terms of banking.

What’s something someone may not know about First County Bank?
Most customers might not know that we also offer Vantis Life insurance. And also, an existing customer can now open an account online using online banking.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
When a customer admires our service and tells us, “That’s what I love about this Bank, the people.”