Customer Profile

Customer Profile: Neighbors Link Stamford

“[First County Bank] is so much more than just our bank.” ~ Catalina Horak, executive director of Neighbors Link Stamford

Neighbors Link Stamford is a non-profit organization that provides a comprehensive resource center for recent immigrants in the Stamford, Connecticut area. The mission of Neighbors Link Stamford is to strengthen the whole community by actively enhancing the healthy integration of immigrants. Affiliated with Neighbors Link in Mount Kisco, NY, Neighbors Link Stamford offers a number of programs to help new immigrants successfully integrate into their community including English as a Second Language, Job Skills Training, Computer Skills Training and Leadership Training.

As a new non-profit opening a resource center
for recent immigrants to the area, Neighbors Link Stamford needed support from the community. They needed volunteers and grant money, but also a bank to set up their 501c3. When they turned to First County Bank – they found all three.

“I think the thing I like best about First County Bank is their holistic approach, I’m not sure how else to explain it. They were very helpful in setting up the bank account to hold our 501(c)(3) funds, but they are so much more than just our bank,” said Catalina Horak, executive director of the organization. “The First County Bank Foundation awarded us a grant to help us achieve our goals, and each year since we opened their executives have spent their community service day with us building planting beds and planting vegetables. They truly understand and actively support our social mission. There’s nothing more valuable than that.”

The Foundation awarded $5,000 to Neighbors Link Stamford, which helped to expand high impact strategies for successful integration of immigrant families.

We, the employees of First County Bank, don’t just work in Fairfield County, we live here too. That means this is our community, and we’re invested in making it a better place for everyone.

To find out how First County Bank can help you or to learn about other services we offer, please visit any of our branches or call a Relationship Manager at 203-462-4481.

Customer Profile

First County Bank Customer Profile: Laurel House, Stamford, Conn.

Established in 2001 in honor of the Bank’s 150th anniversary, the First County Bank Foundation
was created to distribute funds annually to non-profit organizations that support community and
economic development for children and families.

As a mutual bank, First County Bank considers contributions made by the foundation a means of paying dividends back to the local communities it serves. One of those recipients is Laurel House.

Since 1984, Laurel House has operated in Stamford, serving lower Fairfield County using a self-help approach. This is a holistic, community-based approach, which focuses on the individual strengths of people living with serious mental illness to lead productive, meaningful and rewarding lives in the community.

“We don’t give people a hand out, we give a hand up,” said Pauline Anderson, Vice President of Development and Advocacy at Laurel House, “and we love to develop community partnerships.” Pauline is especially fond of the relationship Laurel House has with Rey Giallongo, Kathy Harris and Karen Kelly at First County Bank Foundation. “They truly care about what we do here and we have benefited from the Bank’s foundation for the last six years.” Laurel House has used the monetary grants to improve accessibility for members to continue their education and for necessary repairs to the building. Continue reading

Customer Profile

First County Bank Customer Profile: The Law Office of Alex Martinez, Stamford, Conn.

As a successful lawyer in Stamford, Alex Martinez is well versed in presenting his side of
any case. When it comes to his dealings with First County Bank, he simply states the facts,
“It’s been an awesome experience and I wouldn’t bank anywhere else.”

Alex started banking with First County Bank in the early 1980s. “Back then, I had personal accounts, you know, checking and savings,” he said. “I started my practice in 1993 and naturally looked to First County Bank for my business needs. And First County Bank was able to meet those needs, and continues to do so as my business grows.”

When asked what makes First County Bank different than other banks, Alex doesn’t mince words. “It’s passion, pure and simple,” he exclaims. “Camilo Duque, the Branch Manager at the Summer Street branch, is one of the most passionate people I have ever met,” he said. Alex was quick to note that every single person he has ever dealt with at the branch, from tellers to branch manager, have been very passionate about his business needs. “The people at the branches are the key to the Bank’s success. You build a bond with these people and they go the extra mile.”

The pleasure of dealing with First County Bank also extends to his wife and 9-year-old daughter, who both have accounts there. In fact, Alex’s immediate family are not his only relatives who bank with First County Bank. His mom has several accounts at the Bank, as does his sister.

Alex admits that in the last year, four or five different banks have approached him in an effort to lure his business away from First County Bank. “I can never see that happening,” he says. Alex has the utmost confidence in the Bank and its employees.

Alex is also very impressed with the diversity of employees at First County Bank. “Stamford has always been a very multi-cultural city and I love that First County Bank mirrors that diversity and is responding to the needs of the community.” We are proud to say that more than 16 different languages are spoken at our many branches.

Once again, a local resident sings the praises of First County Bank. Case closed.

Customer Profile

First County Bank Customer Profile: Mary and Joseph Lebinski, Fairfield, Conn.

Mary and Joseph Lebinski, residents of Fairfield, have been married for over 45 years. They share the same feelings about love, commitment, and their bank. “We both love each other so,” says Mary grinning, “and we both love First County Bank.” Joseph nods his head in agreement, content to let his wife do the talking.

Their relationship with First County Bank began when they met Paul Bubniak, who is now a Vice President of Trust and Investments at First County Bank. Mary admits that Paul is like a family member. “He’s the sole reason I’m at First County Bank and I’m happy every time I see him,” she added. Together, Mary and Joseph do all their banking at First County Bank’s Westport branch.

Mary cites the friendliness, the warmth and the general “how-can-I-help-you” attitude that has her visiting the Bank at least once a week. “I missed my hair appointment last week because I was talking to a teller about my grandchildren,” she confessed. Joseph nods in agreement. Continue reading

Customer Profile

First County Bank Customer Profile: Italian Center, Stamford, Conn.

The Italian Center says “arrivederci” to its old bank, and “ciao” to a new one – First County Bank.

The Italian Center offers health and fitness facilities, indoor and outdoor recreational activities as well as conference and catering facilities capable of handling hundreds of guests. In addition, it has a summer camp and child day care facilities that are open to the public. “We have almost 30 acres and a 50,000 square foot facility here, so there’s something for everyone,” says Paul Hickey, the Executive Director, “but with something this size, there are always necessary improvements.”

In 2009, the Italian Center was looking for a line of credit to make some of these improvements, when Paul realized it was the right time to change banks. He previously worked with a large money center bank, but felt a disconnect and was concerned about the bank’s lack of community involvement. A fellow board member of the Italian Center heard Paul’s concerns. That member was Nino Antonelli, a Vice President at First County Bank. Nino assured Paul that First County Bank would be able to provide more personalized service. Continue reading

Customer Profile

First County Bank Customer Profile: Radio Personality Matt Zako at 95.9 The Fox in Norwalk, Conn.

Matt Zako is an on-air radio personality at 95.9 The Fox in Norwalk, and it’s safe to say he has lots of fans. But there are times that Matt himself is a fan. Especially when it comes to his bank. “I love First County Bank and all the people there,” he admits.

Matt’s relationship with First County Bank goes back almost ten years. It all started with a bounced check at another bank. “It was around the time we were starting a family and had a lot on our plates. My wife and I wrote a few checks before some money had cleared.”

The amounts of the bounced checks were low, but the overdraft fees were high. Matt went to his bank – the same one he had used for years – to see if there was anything they could do about consolidating or waiving the fees. “They acted as if I was a new customer, not someone who has been there for a long time. To be honest, I should have changed banks right then, but I didn’t.” Continue reading

Customer Profile

First County Bank Customer Profile: The Ox Ridge Hunt Club in Darien, Conn.

Flavia Callari and Alison Potter share many of the same passions. They’re passionate about riding horses. Passionate about the success of the Ox Ridge Hunt Club, where they are both business managers and members. And passionate about First County Bank. “The Bank didn’t just help us,they saved us,” the women agreed.

The Ox Ridge Hunt Club, located in Darien, will soon be celebrating its 100th anniversary. It has a longstanding history in the equestrian world, including the famed summer circuit. Alison explained that every riding club in the Northeast was getting a facelift and Ox Ridge needed one, too. “We had to evolve or we would dissolve,” she said. Anyone who brings a horse here should be confident that the field and accommodations are top-notch, she added.

They turned to their former bank for additional funding, but were turned down for a loan. Honestly, they didn’t know what to do. That’s when First County Bank rode in and saved the day. In fact, it’s not the first time the Bank partnered with Ox Ridge.In the past, First County Bank had been a sponsor of the Ox Ridge Horse Show. “The Bank is part of the community and Ox Ridge is part of the community,” said Rick Zaremski, Senior Vice President of Business Banking at First County Bank, “it really was an easy decision to get on board.” Continue reading