Bank News

It’s Insta-Official

We’re proud to announce that First County Bank is officially on Instagram! With some great grant check deliveries, community involvement and event photos – we couldn’t think of a better way to share who we are as a Bank.

If you have an Instagram account we encourage you to follow us – and if you don’t, what a great reason for you to create one!

Find us on Instagram @firstcountybank

Bank News, First County Bank Foundation, In Our Community

First County Bank selects Pacific House to Receive Special Grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s “Jobs for New England” Program

First County Bank is pleased to announce that Pacific House was selected to receive a grant as a result of the Bank’s involvement in a special program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston. First County Bank accessed the Jobs For New England program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston which promotes economic development in the community by providing special financing to its member banks to fund small business loans specifically to create or preserve jobs, expand woman, minority, or veteran-owned businesses, or to otherwise stimulate the economy in the New England communities.

First County Bank utilized the Jobs for New England program to fund the purchase of an office building and to renovate the building for a local dental practice. This resulted in increasing the building’s value, improving the surrounding neighborhood and increasing local employment by adding jobs to its growing dental practice. Because of the Bank’s first-time participation in this program, Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston made a grant available to a non-profit of the Bank’s choice through its Grants for New England Partnerships. First County Bank chose Pacific House, Inc., due to its innovative approach to developing housing for the homeless.

Left to Right: First County Bank Business Banking employees Sara Tucker, senior vice president and director Business Banking Division, Jim Darling, vice president and team leader, Patty Sweeney, vice president, present a First County Bank Foundation $10,000 grant to Jerome Roberts, Associate Executive Director, and John Silango, Chief Financial Officer of Pacific House, Inc.

Left to Right: First County Bank Business Banking employees Sara Tucker, senior vice president and director Business Banking Division, Jim Darling, vice president and team leader, Patty Sweeney, vice president, present a First County Bank Foundation $10,000 grant to Jerome Roberts, Associate Executive Director, and John Silango, Chief Financial Officer of Pacific House, Inc.

“It is exciting for First County Bank to participate in the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Jobs For New England program along with the honor to select Pacific House as a special grant recipient. This program improves our local economy in so many ways, “ said Sara Tucker, senior vice president and director of Business Banking at First County Bank. “It is amazing how one loan can grow a local business, increase the value of a neighborhood, expand employment and benefit a local nonprofit’s mission, making a strong economic impact in such a positive manner.”

Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston awarded $2,500 to Pacific House, Inc. on behalf of First County Bank. This grant augments the $10,000 grant given by First County Bank Foundation, Inc. to Pacific House, Inc.  The Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston grant to Pacific House demonstrates the collaboration taking place in New England between financial service partners to benefit the community and focus on economic development.

Bank News

Jagjiwan Singh of First County Bank, named as one of Fairfield County’s 40 Under 40

Jagjiwan Singh

Jagjiwan Singh

First County Bank is pleased to announce that Jagjiwan Singh, assistant vice president, Business Development Officer, was recognized by Fairfield County Business Journal as one of Fairfield County’s 40 Under 40 at the June 20 awards celebration held at Silicon Harbor, Stamford. Singh is responsible for business development and the origination of small business and commercial loans.

This is the 13th annual celebration of the Fairfield County Business Journal honoring top forty professionals under the age of forty. Candidates are judged based on their position in their careers and contributions to their business field or community. Over 100 young professionals are nominated each year for this honor and represent many business fields including: financial services, insurance, banking, real estate, medical, technology, law, marketing, and others.

“We are delighted Singh was recognized for his accomplishments in the banking industry and service to our community,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., Chairman and CEO of First County Bank. “It is an honor for him to be awarded the 40 Under 40 award by the Fairfield County Business Journal. Singh is a valued member of our Business Banking team.”

Singh is involved in the community as a member of the Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji Foundation. Jagjiwan has been with First County Bank for approximately a year and has made an impact through his ability to partner with other First County Bank team members and to identify opportunities in the marketplace. Singh is a responsive trusted advisor to customers and prospects, as well as to his partners within the Bank.  His career in business banking started in 2009. He has a B.A. in Economics from the University of Connecticut and has completed extensive professional financial course work. Jagjiwan is multilingual with fluency in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.

Bank News

First County Bank Welcomes Juanita T. James as New Board Member

jjFirst County Bank is pleased to announce that Juanita T. James, president and CEO of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, has been named to First County Bank’s board of directors. James was officially appointed to the board at the June 21, 2017 meeting.

“Juanita’s community involvement through volunteerism and business leadership are renowned. She brings substantial business expertise to our board. Juanita has served First County Bank as a Corporator for the past ten years,” said Rey Giallongo, First County Bank chairman and CEO. “We know she will be an exceptional addition to our board of directors.”

James has an extensive background dedicated to community and volunteer service and has received a multitude of accolades which include:

  • NAACP “100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut”
  • Stamford Public Education Foundation “Excellence in Education”
  • Moffly Media “Light a Fire”
  • Stamford “Citizen of the Year”.

In addition to her appointment to the First County Bank board of directors, Juanita also serves as Asbury Automotive Group, director; Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, director; CT Council of Philanthropy, director; Lesley University, trustee; Princeton University, trustee emerita.

James has been a corporator at First County Bank since June 2007.  In addition to her time at Pitney Bowes, Inc., as chief marketing and communications officer, she previously held key business positions at Time Warner, Inc. and Bertelsmann, Inc. James earned a master’s degree in business policy from Columbia Business School and a bachelor’s degree in Romance languages from Princeton University. In addition, she has been awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Fairfield University and from Mitchell College. Juanita and her husband, Dudley Williams Jr., live in Stamford and have an adult son, Dudley, III.

Lifestyle Trends & Tips

6 Tips for Safe Summer Travel

FCB_WorldPlaneAfter this past weekend’s heatwave, it’s finally starting to feel like summer. The nice weather probably also has you ready to take off for that much-needed summer vacation. Before you leave home, there are some important steps you should take to ensure a safe and relaxing journey:

  1. Stop mail, newspaper, and other deliveries. Nothing advertises you’re away from home better than an overstuffed mailbox or a driveway covered with newspapers. Be sure to contact the post office and other delivery companies to arrange for a vacation stoppage.
  2. Make arrangements for pets. If you’re leaving behind your pets, make arrangements with a pet sitter or kennel. Since summer is the busiest time for vacations, you’ll want to make your pet’s plans well in advance of your trip.
  3. Set lights on timers. To guard against potential burglars, be sure to set lights on timers, so others will think the home is occupied.
  4. Unplug electronics. Before you leave home, be sure to unplug any electronics from wall outlets, such as televisions, stereos and appliances. If you have these devices on surge protectors, switch the power off.
  5. Give a family member or neighbor a key. It’s always a good idea to give someone you trust a key to your home in the event that something should happen to the home while you’re away. Avoid leaving a key under the welcome mat or other obvious places.
  6. Call First County Bank before you leave. To ensure you receive uninterrupted debit card access, call our CustomerFirst Contact Center at 203.462.4400 to let us know your travel plans.

Once you follow these simple steps, there’s only one more thing to do – relax!

First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: David Van Buskirk

Van Buskirk,DavidSMMeet David Van Buskirk, Assistant Vice President and Business Development Officer.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I have been with the Bank for 5 years as of this month. I reside in Norwalk with my wife of almost 45 years. We have two children together, Christa and Matthew. Sports have always been a passion of mine, especially baseball and soccer. I have either played and/or coached more of my life.

I enjoy being active in my local community. Some of my involvement consists of: Past President and current Board Member of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, current Board Member of the New Canaan Lions Club, member of the Finance Committee for the New Canaan Nature Center as well as a volunteer for Junior Achievement.

What is your favorite part of your role at First County Bank?
My favorite part of the role I have at First County Bank is helping clients and prospects find solutions to their needs.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
The most frequently asked questions I get from customers and prospects revolve around advice and solutions to their needs, and of course, “how long will it take?”

What advice would you give someone looking to start or further develop their business?
When I speak to someone looking to start a business or grow the business I usually start with a discussion of their Business Plan, moving on to projections and succession planning as well. These plans are all important during the start/growth phases of a business.

What success story can you share of how a business has benefited from a financial solution?
My favorite success story stems from my first year with the Bank. I was able to continue an important relationship with a former client, after discussions on the “community first” approach of First County Bank. This former, now current, client has become an excellent customer of the Bank with multiple accounts, a Commercial Loan and has been the source of new prospect referrals as well.

Smart Savings Tips, Trends & Tips

10 Tips to Green Your Home and $ave Money

FCB_ICONS_LightbulbWhether you’re a renter or a homeowner, chances are you care about protecting the environment – and saving money. Here are some tips from the American Bankers Association to help you do both.

Location, location, location efficiency.
Carefully consider the location of your home. If you’re close to work, shopping and entertainment, you may not need a car. Without a car you would save money on gas, car insurance and maintenance, not to mention reduce pollution. If you’re thinking about moving further away, try to find something near public transportation and shopping.

Light up the house, not the electric bill. 
Replacing incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient compact florescent light (CFL) bulbs will save you about $6 a year in electricity costs per bulb and more than $40 over its lifetime. According to ENERGY STAR, if every American home replaced just one light bulb, we would save enough energy to prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year. Remember to recycle used CFL bulbs. Go to www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling​ for recycling locations.

Some like it hot, hot, hot…or cold, cold, cold. 
Closely monitor your thermostat. Adjusting it just a few degrees while you’re out can save energy and money. You can make it easier by installing a programmable thermostat. Use fans and close the blinds during the warm months and let the sun in for natural warmth in the winter. Also, change your filter every three months.

How low can you go?
One way to save water is by using low-flow toilets. The most cost-effective way to do this is to simply take a 1 liter plastic bottle, fill it with water and place it inside the tank. This will reduce your water use per flush. Another way to save water is placing an aerator on all of your faucets.

Make it mean-green-clean. 
Cleaning supplies can be expensive and are made with toxic chemicals. You can save money and the environment by making your own cleaning supplies. All you need are some basic household ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda and borax to clean everything from windows to tile. Look online for recipes and suggestions.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! 
Sticking to this mantra can help you save money around the house. Use a rag instead of paper towels. Buy products in bulk, concentrate or refillable containers to reduce packaging waste. Look for products made from recycled content. And don’t forget to recycle!

Win-dos for your windows. 
There are a number of ways you can make your windows more energy efficient without replacing them. For better insulation from the weather you can caulk exterior joints, put shrink wrap on them or hang blackout curtains.

Fan the green flames.
To keep your refrigerator running efficiently, keep the fan clean. The motor won’t have to work as hard if the fan is clear of debris.

Decorate green. 
Houseplants are like living air-filters. English Ivy, rubber trees, peace lilies and red-edged dracaena can help clean the air and look pretty too.

Vampire energy is sucking you dry. 
On or off, anything plugged into the wall sucks energy. Vampire power costs U.S. consumers more than $3 billion a year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Unplug your electronics and appliances when they’re not in use.

 

In Our Community

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The waiting and anticipation is finally over – grant season is here! Since it’s origination in 2001, the First County Bank Foundation has become the cornerstone of the Bank. Every year, over one hundred nonprofit and community organizations apply for the Foundation’s Community and Standard Grants.

June commences our grant season, as we begin to deliver the grants to local nonprofit and community organizations. This year will also include a milestone accomplishment as our Foundation will tick over $8 million in grants over the past 15 years.

Standing (left to right)  Paul Isla, AVP, Branch Manager, First County Bank, Paula Arias, Camila Aguilar, Valerie Alvarez, Ana Sofia Mesa, and Jagiwan Singh, AVP, Business Development Officer, First County Bank Kneeling (left to right) Meghan Marshall, Madeline Sorial

Standing (left to right)
Paul Isla, AVP, Branch Manager, First County Bank, Paula Arias, Camila Aguilar, Valerie Alvarez, Ana Sofia Mesa, and Jagiwan Singh, AVP, Business Development Officer, First County Bank
Kneeling (left to right)
Meghan Marshall, Madeline Sorial

 

Smart Savings Tips, Trends & Tips

6 Financial Traps New College Graduates Should Avoid

FCB_GradCapAs college seniors across the nation graduate and start their careers, their financial lifestyle should be top of mind, says the American Bankers Association. ABA has highlighted six traps new college graduates should avoid to fortify their finances as they transition from the dorm to the office.

“Now is the time for college grads to get their financial life started on the right foot,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director of the ABA Foundation. “When it comes to managing your finances in the real world, pulling an all-nighter isn’t the best strategy.  Forming positive financial habits today will set you up for lifelong success.”

According to the ABA, new college graduates should avoid the following financial traps:

  • Not having a budget.  Don’t spend more than you make. Calculate the amount of money you’re taking home after taxes, then figure out how much money you can afford to spend each month while contributing to your savings. Be sure to factor in recurring expenses such as student loans, monthly rent, utilities, groceries, transportation expenses and car loans.
  • Forgoing an emergency fund.  Make it a priority to set aside the equivalent of three to six months’ worth of living expenses. Start putting some money away immediately, no matter how small the amount. A bank savings account is a smart place to stash your cash for a rainy day. Use your tax refund for this instead of an impulse buy.
  • Paying bills late – or not at all. Each missed payment can hurt your credit history for up to seven years, and can affect your ability to get loans, the interest rates you pay and your ability to get a job or rent an apartment. Consider setting up automatic payments for regular expenses like student loans, car payments and phone bills.
  • Racking up debt. Understand the responsibilities and benefits of credit.  Shop around for a card that best suits your needs, and spend only what you can afford to pay back. Credit is a great tool, but only if you use it responsibly.
  • Not thinking about the future.  It may seem odd since you’re just beginning your career, but now is the best time to start planning for your retirement. Contribute to your employer’s 401(k) or similar account, especially if there is a company match. Invest enough to qualify for your company’s full match – it’s free money that adds up to a significant chunk of change over the years.
  • Ignoring help from your bank. Most banks offer online, mobile and text banking tools to manage your account night and day.  Use these tools to check balances, pay bills, deposit checks, monitor transaction history and track budgets.
First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Jagjiwan Singh

Jagjiwan Singh

Jagjiwan Singh

Meet Jagjiwan Singh, Assistant Vice President and Business Development Officer.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I enjoy spending time with my kids – taking them to the park, playing soccer or most recently taking my younger son to the baseball diamond. On the weekends I participate at my local temple in Norwalk, where I help serve food to the community. I’m also a big fan of basketball – Go Knicks!

What is your favorite part of your role at First County Bank?
I enjoy spending time with business owners and learning about their specific business needs as well as assisting them any way I can to help their business grow.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
“What are the rates and fees?”

What advice would you give someone looking to start or further develop their business?
If you’re looking to further develop your business, don’t underestimate your Business Relationship Manager. Always work closely with them, as they are experts in this field.

What success story can you share of how a business has benefited from a financial solution?
My most recent client success story relates to our BusinessFirst Express Loan. I had the opportunity of assisting a client who received a bid for a large project, but didn’t have enough funds to purchase materials. They were also limited on time, which added extra pressure to the project.  Due to the BusinessFirst Express product, we found a solution for them via a BusinessFirst Express Line of Credit and got them approved and funded within a week!