In Our Community

Help Us, Help You

ClipBoardEvery year the First County Bank team takes time to ask and review the wants and needs of our customers through our survey. If you have not done so already, we strongly urge each and every one of our customers to take this 5-10 minute survey, as we truly do listen.

In 2015, savings was something many customers felt a concern with or something they needed help with. In 2016, First County Bank launched the FirstPrize $avings account in an effort to make saving a more attractive and rewarding option. In 2016, customers said that retirement planning and savings were a top concern and priority moving forward. In 2017, we will be launching initiatives to respond to this concern.

Have a part in the customer voice this year as we truly do listen. You, the customer, are the driver – tell us where you want to go, so we can help you get there. Thank you in advance for taking time to complete the survey.

Take the survey now.

First County Bank Foundation, In Our Community

First County Bank Foundation Grant Applications Now Being Accepted Convenient Online Application

First County Bank Foundation LogoFirst County Bank Foundation announces the availability of its 2017 grant application for nonprofit organizations in lower Fairfield County. This year, the application can be conveniently completed online. The deadline for submitting standard grant applications is March 31, 2017.

To be eligible for consideration, organizations must have nonprofit tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and serve the communities of Stamford, Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk or Westport. Applicant organizations must support community and economic development, increase the availability of affordable housing or support quality of life and educational enrichment for families and children. Since the First County Bank Foundation was formed in 2001, it has awarded individual grants exceeding $7.5 million. The Grant application form is available on the Bank’s website at: http://www.firstcountybank.com/application-process.

“Each year we look forward to receiving and evaluating incoming grant applications. It is always gratifying to see the breadth and depth of programs that our local nonprofits are spearheading. And, for those first-time grant applications, we welcome the opportunity to get to know you better,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., president of First County Bank Foundation. “First County Bank Foundation and First County Bank’s directors, corporators, officers and employees, take great pride in distributing charitable contributions to local nonprofit organizations to help assure local needs will be met.”

In Our Community

Congratulations to Denise Doria!

DSC_1326 Doria retouched (1)Earlier this week the Greenwich YWCA announced its 2017 Brava Award nominees. The YWCA Brava Award recognizes “professional women who have excelled in their professional careers and have given back to the community through their time and talent.”

We congratulate Denise Doria, for being named a 2017 YWCA Greenwich Brava Award Nominee. Denise is a First County Bank Corporator and member of the Board of Directors. Denise embodies the Brava Award values; through her professional career and community support efforts she is an ideal recipient for this award. We are proud to have Denise as a member of our Board and as an active member of our local community.

Denise, along with ten other nominees, will be honored at the 40th Annual Brava Award’s Luncheon on Friday, February 10th at the Hyatt Regency in Greenwich. The ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m.

The proceeds from this event goes toward providing free programs and scholarships to those in our community. For Brava Award tickets, sponsorships or program advertising, contact the YWCA Greenwich.

Bank News

Elizabeth Canizares-Brucker Joins First County Bank As Mortgage Loan Originator

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First County Bank is pleased to announce Elizabeth “Beth” Canizares-Brucker, to our Residential Mortgage Division, as a mortgage loan originator.

We are pleased to announce the recent addition of Elizabeth “Beth” Canizares-Brucker to the Bank’s Residential Lending division as a mortgage loan originator. With the hiring of Brucker, First County Bank continues to augment our talented pool of mortgage loan originators to better meet the needs of its customers.

“Beth brings a solid mortgage lending, origination and marketing background to the Bank. She has knowledge in all aspects of mortgage origination and specializes in home purchase, refinance, first time buyers and luxury home lending,” said Reyno Giallongo, First County Bank’s chairman and CEO. “We look forward to her contributions which complement and further enrich the expertise of our First County Bank Residential Mortgage Division.”

Beth Brucker works closely with a network of realtor and financial professionals throughout Connecticut. Since 2002, she has been involved in the residential mortgage industry with some of the nation’s leading lending institutions. Brucker has considerable experience in all aspects of origination and helps guide borrowers through the loan process, recommending the best solutions for each customer. She specializes in helping first time home buyers achieve home ownership as well as working with customers in the luxury home market.

Prior to joining First County Bank, Beth was a mortgage lender who knows the local market and understands customer needs. Previously, she was an international marketing professional with a top 20 IT corporation in the Fortune 500. She is actively involved in the community with the Westport Rotary Club as social chair, newsletter editor and Lobster Fest member; The Rotary Means Business as social chair; American Heart Association of CT and NY as Advisory Board member and is a member of the International Society of Lower Fairfield. Over the years, she was also an active member of the Shellfish Commission for the Town of Westport and a volunteer in many other community and national charitable organizations. She earned her B.S. in Finance and Management from Fairfield University. Beth currently resides in Wilton, CT with her family.

Trends & Tips

2017 Financial Resolutions to Consider

papercheckIn a recent Forbes Article, writer Andrew Josuweit discusses top financial resolutions in 2017. Josuweit begins the article by stating, “If you’re among the third who aren’t planning to set a financial goal for the New Year, you might want to reconsider. About half of resolution-setters achieved 80 percent or more of their financial goal in 2016, according to a survey from Fidelity Investments.” Define financial resolutions as you set your goals for the New Year.

  1. Build an Emergency Fund – “An emergency fund is your first line of defense against financial hardship.”
  1. Save for Retirement – Whatever your retirement goals are, use 2017 as the year you began your retirement savings.
  1. Buy a House – According to Josuweit, purchasing a home is high on the list for many people as they welcome 2017. If you’re a potential homebuyer in the New Year, understanding the process is just as important as finding the home of your dreams. Here are three questions to consider:
    • How does this affect your overall wealth management plan?
    • Have you determined how much house you can afford?
    • How well do you understand the market, as well as your personal mortgage and home equity needs?

Let 2017 be the year of hope and empowerment for you, as you build financial freedom and personal wealth. Accomplishing these resolutions is no easy task – what makes them easy, is having an advisor you can trust. Talk to your banker about helping you plan your journey to achieve your financial goals.

Trends & Tips

Tips for Better Business Banking in 2017

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It’s hard to believe 2017 is already here. Just as we were getting comfortable with 2016, the New Year is upon us. Some of the biggest questions of a new year are What will it bring?, What will the trends be?, and What should we expect?

It’s no surprise that many early predictions see technology continuing its upward trend in use and accessibility. At First County Bank, we understand the needs of small businesses, and have used our experience and expertise to evaluate and launch new products and services designed to allow business owners the ability to focus on what’s important – running their business.

Here are a few ways you can do your business banking better in 2017:

  • BusinessFirst Checking – At First County Bank, we’ve kept it simple with an account that has no monthly maintenance fee, no minimum balance, unlimited check writing, unlimited bill payments, unlimited deposits and more. Stop by any branch or call our business banking team to find out how you can save up to $250 or more each month!1
  • Fraud Prevention & Cash Management Services – These days, how you manage and protect your business finances is a priority for many, including those of us at First County Bank. Positive Pay Services is our newest tool for customers, designed to defend accounts against fraud. With an additional eight Cash Management Services to choose from, we’re sure we have the tools you need to help your business navigate day-to-day cash-flow throughout 2017.
  • Business Lending – As technology advances, the speed in which tasks are expected to be accomplished increases. Recognizing this, we understand that businesses are sometimes in need of funds quickly. In 2016, we created the BusinessFirst Express Loan, where decisions are received in as soon as 48 hours and funds are accessible in as soon as 7 business days.

You’ve set your New Year’s Resolution, now it’s time to accomplish it. Spend more time doing what you do best, and less time paying business banking fees, worrying about your accounts and waiting for loan decisions or funds. Stop by a branch or contact our business banking team to find out how you can do better business banking in 2017.

1Savings estimate based on fees for Positive Pay and Remote Deposit Capture being waived and an estimate of charges you are paying on your existing bank account. Ask us for details. See Business Deposit Account Schedule of Charges and Cash Management/Business Online Banking Agreements for details regarding fees, fund availability, security requirements, and other terms and conditions.

First County 165

Throwback Thursday: Savings with something extra

plate_placemat_530996248In 1975, neighbors looking for a new savings account found they could get something extra when they went with First County Bank (then named Stamford Savings Bank)—a four-piece place serving of Dalton Stoneware. Customers could also round out their collection of the 70’s era stoneware by purchasing a buffet platter, serving dish, set of bowls and/or a sugar & creamer set. Given recent interest in retro and vintage design, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that some of the sets are still in use today!

While we no longer offer dinnerware when opening a new account, we continue to find new and exciting ways to encourage customers to save as with the introduction of our FirstPrize $avings account, which gives account holders a chance to win $1,000 each drawing period. Click here to find out more about the account.

 2016 is a big year for First County Bank as we celebrate not only our 165th anniversary, but also the 15th anniversary of the First County Bank Foundation. To mark these major milestones we will be digging into the archives, sharing some notable moments from our history on our blog and social media channels every other Thursday. You can follow along, or share your own memories of First County Bank history, by leaving a comment or posting a memory using #FirstCounty165.

Trends & Tips

New Year’s Resolution: Setting Financial Goals

FCB_umbrellaThe New Year is often a time for reflection upon the past year. We often think of positives and negatives, but one of the most daunting and challenging things to think about is what has not changed. A CNBC Article reported that, “…just 22 percent of American workers [are] highly confident that they will have enough money for a comfortable retirement.” This begs the daunting question, are you on track with your retirement goals? Have you defined your retirement goals or strategy?

Short-term goals and “baby-steps” are the best way to approach a retirement strategy. Use this New Year to not only set a goal for yourself, but layout a plan or strategy on how you can achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. Getting started may seem like an intimidating task, which is why we offer a variety of options to help you prepare and begin moving toward your goals.

  1. 36 Month Bump Rate CD – If you’re new to retirement planning, try starting off with a simple CD account. Learn how to put money into an account and leave it. Letting your money grow in a retirement account can be challenging if you’re not used to long-term savings. The 36 Month Bump Rate CD may be an easier way to get used to this type of savings plan.
  2. Retirement Savings Account – For those ready to take the next or “intermediate” step with retirement planning should speak to a First County Bank Retirement Specialist, and learn about different IRA and Money Market options.
  3. First County Advisors – The “advanced” step in retirement planning, First County Bank Advisors help manage many of life’s milestones and their potential impact on retirement including: marriage or divorce, birth or adoption of a child, care and support of elderly family members, as well as trust and estate planning.
In Our Community

FirstPrize $avings: First-Ever Winner!

IMG_5827FirstPrize $avings launched in October 2016 as an account that would help promote savings. An account holder’s first 10 deposits per month of at least $25 earn entries into a drawing for a chance to win $1,000! The first drawing period came to a close on November 30th and the winner was selected, soon after.

Congratulations to Brooke Ann Bean of Stamford, the first-ever FirstPrize $avings Winner! Brooke opened her account at the Darien Branch, which happened to be the very first FirstPrize $avings account opened at the Branch. “I’m happy to present Brooke Bean with $1,000 from the Bank’s very first FirstPrize $avings account drawing,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr. Chairman and CEO of First County Bank. “First County Bank developed FirstPrize $avings, which provides a cash prize incentive that encourages people to save, and makes saving money exciting.”

Congratulations to Brooke, the Darien Branch as well as all account holders who saved money. We hope that this account continues to excite and encourage people to save. The next drawing period ends February 28, 2017 – join the fun, open an account today and start saving!

The CEO's Posts

A Letter to Our Community Partners

R GiallongoDear Community Partner:

Having recently concluded the 15th Anniversary Celebration of the Bank’s Foundation, I want to thank you and your organization for all that you do for the local community. The partnerships that you have forged with your peers in the community, with the Bank, our Foundation and most importantly with our employees continue to improve the quality of life in our cities and towns, making Fairfield County a better place to live, work and play.

Having been here for 165 years, all of us at First County Bank dedicate ourselves to improving our community not only through our Foundation giving but in many other ways. Our employees have provided resources to hundreds of first-time homebuyers and have connected local businesses with our expertise helping them to grow and prosper to promote a stronger local economy.

I’m very proud of my colleagues here at the Bank. You see us at any number of Board and Committee meetings of many local nonprofit and service organizations but what you might not see is the incredible generosity demonstrated throughout the year by our employees. We have collected food for the Food Bank; pet supplies for the Shelter; household and baby items for rehabilitation programs and backpacks full of school supplies at each and every Bank-wide meeting. This is over and above the incredible giving of approximately $650,000 in local Foundation grants and scholarships this year… all made possible by our team members.

Through these efforts and over the 1,000+ volunteer hours that our employees participated in throughout the year, we are very proud to be part of your important community mission.

Thank you all for your help and support and I look forward to a great 2017.

Sincerely,
Rey Giallongo