Bank News, First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Thomas Berta

Meet Thomas Berta, manager of branch sales and service at First County Bank.

F215238099

Thomas Berta
Vice President Manager of Branch Sales and Service

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

I have been in banking for 20 years, specializing in helping branches improve customer experience and customer engagement. I have a beautiful wife, Donna, to whom I’ve been married for 19 years and two teenage sons, Taylor and Evan, who are extremely active with sports. I’ve spent many years working the Shrub Oak Athletic Club and the Bombers Baseball Club coaching my boys various baseball teams and, when I have free time, I enjoy traveling and playing golf.

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

I have the privilege of working with the finest group of bankers I’ve seen in my 20 years (which has spanned the states of CT, NY and RI). Helping our branch staff understand and anticipate our customer’s needs and offering appropriate solutions to help them grow their business, protect their families and save for their future is very rewarding to me.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?

When are deposit rates going up?

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment?

The day First County Bank asked me to join the team!

 

First County Advisors/Wealth Management

Financial Wellness Tips from First County Advisors

papercheckJanuary is not just a great time to get your body in shape – it’s also the perfect opportunity to whip your financial affairs into order. In honor of “Financial Wellness Month” the First County Advisors team, the Wealth Management Division of First County Bank, will be sharing some of their favorite financial fitness tips to put you on the right track.

Tips will include:

• Set long and short-term goals
• Maximize your retirement savings
• Track your spending and set a budget
• Educate yourself

These articles, combined with the Smart Savings tips we’ve been sharing on an ongoing basis, are a sure way to get 2016 off on the right financial foot.

Smart Savings Tips

Nicole’s Savings Tip

We asked our customers and community share their “Smart Savings Tips” – and you answered with some amazing ideas, including this one:

MakeAPlan

Plan your meals for the week. First, check the fridge and pantry to use up that week. This way you buy only what you need, no need for take-out or to buy lunch because you’ve got it covered. Saves you money and extra calories because you are likely to eat healthier this way.

Stay tuned as we share more of your Smart Savings Tips in the coming weeks and months. With your help, we can all learn to save smart.

Miscellaneous, The CEO's Posts, Trends & Tips

What do you save?

RGCEO11Cheryl and I got a head start this week clearing out some of the clutter in our loft. We started with the premise that we need more filing cabinets to store household paperwork and looked to place an on-line order, but did we? We pay all of our bills on-line, stack the invoices away and print many of the confirmations probably like most people do. But when it comes to financial record keeping and retention of paperwork, what do you really need to keep?

From a practical standpoint anything you can access electronically, it probably safe to shred. This would include bank statements, credit card bills, utility and phone bills as well as quarterly investment statements. You should keep tax paperwork up to 7 years, estate planning or health care documents and any paperwork relating to pensions or Social Security, as these are usually more difficult to reproduce. Some documents that are extremely difficult to reproduce like passports, wills and deeds should be kept in a safe deposit box but keep copies at home for convenience. It’s also a good idea to inventory and copy the contents of a safe deposit box for easy reference.

Figuring out what to keep or save goes a long way cutting down clutter and reduces the chance of personal documents falling into the hands of an identity thief.

Not sure what you should keep, and what can go?
Check out this special article from USA Today.

Trends & Tips

Last Minute Holiday Gifts

Tasty Hot Chocolate

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix from Tasty

With Christmas just over one week away, the pressure is on to finish holiday shopping (particularly if you are planning on shipping anything in time for the 25th). Here are a few of our favorite last minute holiday gift ideas:

Gift Cards
While some may consider gift cards too impersonal, we like to think of them as giving the gift of an experience. With a range of gift cards available for dining, shopping, vacations, you can find the perfect option for everyone on your list. And, you may be able to use credit card points to buy gift cards – saving you some money during the holidays.

Homemade  Hot Chocolate
Who doesn’t like Hot Chocolate in the winter? The foodies at Tasty have five hot cocoa mixes you can make at home and give to friends and family.

Initial Mug
Ensure the homemade hot chocolate doesn’t get swiped with a beautiful initial mug – you can buy one at Anthropologie, or make one on your own following these steps.

Game Night Gift Basket
Fill a basket with your favorite game night goodies – board game (or games) of your choosing, popcorn and bowl, other snacks and a few pairs of fuzzy slipper socks. Giant Jenga anyone?

 

Bank News, First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Steve Ferguson

Steve G Ferguson Assistant Vice President, Business Development Officer

Meet First County Bank’s assistant vice president, business development officer Steve Ferguson.

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

I am a native of Stamford, CT. I attended Still Meadow Elementary School in my early years and I also attended the UConn Stamford Branch, so you could say my Stamford roots run pretty deep. I come from a very large family where cook-offs at family events are very common. I enjoy spending time with family each summer in Block Island.

Having a passion for traveling has enabled me to visit over ten countries while enjoying all types of cuisine (but no shell fish, I will save that story for another day). You can find me volunteering for the cities of Stamford and Norwalk, spending time with the local elementary school that I serve as a board member with, or volunteering my time as a planning commissioner for the City of Norwalk.

I love living in Fairfield County and I fully enjoy all that the area has to offer. Nothing holds a candle to Lower Fairfield County, unless it’s a tropical island.

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

My favorite part is partnering up with the branch staff to uncover the needs of our business clients. Coming from the branch environment gives me pleasure in developing stronger relationships with each client we serve. As a business banker nothing is better than finding a solution that benefits the client, the community and the bank.

 What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?

“You have been in banking for 20 years? How so?” I normally respond, “The clients I serve keep me young and attentive.”

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment?

The first week I was hired I did not have any business cards. One of the managers I partnered up with to attend a networking event made a label with my name, title and contact number and placed it on her business card. It demonstrated the passion each First County Bank employee has in making sure we are in this together.

Contact
Phone: 203.905-4553
Email: sferguson@firstcountybank.com
Web Page | LinkedIn

Lifestyle Trends & Tips, Trends & Tips

‘Tis the Day to Give – #GivingTuesday

GiveThe holiday season is the time to give. So it’s not at all surprising that the National Day of Giving, a global day dedicated to giving back, would take place this coming December 1. This annual tradition, also known as #GivingTuesday, takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving to inspire individuals, families, students, businesses, and other organizations to celebrate generosity and help others.

How can you experience the joy of #GivingTuesday? Here are some suggestions:

  • Make a donation to a local community organization or charity. Before you send any money, it’s important to do your research to ensure you’re dealing with a reputable organization.
  • If you own a business, encourage your employees and customers to give back. Utilize social media to spread the word about #GivingTuesday and consider providing links on your website to reputable charities.
  • Bring food and clothing donations to your local food pantry or shelter.
  • Donate toys to children.
  • Give your time. You could volunteer your time at a food pantry or work with elderly patients in a nursing home.

 

Smart Savings Tips

Bennie’s Smart Savings Tip

We asked our customers and community share their “Smart Savings Tips” – and you answered with some amazing ideas, including this one:

Bennie's Savings Tip

“I have a holiday savings account with First County Bank. I have auto-deposits put in every month so that come fall I receive a nice check to go shopping with and no big credit card bills in January – I pay with cash!”

Stay tuned as we share more of your Smart Savings Tips in the coming weeks and months. With your help, we can all learn to save smart.

Bank News, In Our Community

Looking after Paddington Bear

Our team had a wonderful time “looking after” and leading Paddington Bear at this year’s UBS Parade Spectacular in Stamford.

Bank News, First County Bank Foundation, In Our Community

First County Bank Foundation Hosts 7th Annual Celebration of Mutual Partnerships

On the evening of November 19th, First County Bank Foundation welcomed over 140 local nonprofit leaders to The Landing in Stamford at its annual event celebrating the good work of local community based organizations. Rey Giallongo, Chairman and CEO of First County Bank and President of First County Bank Foundation kicked off the evening by providing a year in review of Foundation activities and thanked all for attending.

This annual event provides a great opportunity to network with colleagues and listen to a dynamic guest speaker. The attendees learned about new and creative fundraising techniques from this year’s guest speaker, Jon Simons, Vice President at Donor by Design. Jon addressed the audience with inspiring words on ways to maximize fundraising efforts.

A great time was had by all and we look forward to seeing you all next year.