Employee Profile

Employee Profile: Meet Tiffani Valentin

Employee Profile: Meet Tiffani Valentin. Tiffani works as a Senior Commercial Loan Operations Specialist in our Summer Street office and has been with First County Bank for over 10 years.

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

Hi, I’m Tiffani. I am 31 years old and I live in downtown Stamford. I’m originally from Astoria, Queens and my family is originally from Brooklyn, but they’re now scattered between Stamford, New York and Florida.

When I’m not at work, I’m home watching my investigative television shows on Discovery – or horror movies. I’m a big Freddy Krueger fan!  My favorite author is Mary Higgins Clark who writes mysteries and is always on the New York Times Best Selling Author list. My favorite musical artist is Mariah Carey – I listen to her songs almost every day. I enjoy Off-Broadway Theater, walking absolutely everywhere and making memories with family and friends.

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

There are too many to choose from!  Besides continuing to have an intricate part of the bank’s internship program, I would have to say one of my favorite roles here at the bank is to be somewhat of a hub of information for just about all things business banking related. I actually enjoy being out and about at bank-sponsored events and other bank meetings. I enjoy being able to answer questions; whether those questions are from a fellow co-worker, customer or potential customer. A common pattern I’ve noticed is that business banking can seem to be such a mystery!  Being a liaison between both credit administration and business banking helps to keep me well informed as well as on my toes!

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?

 “What do you do at the bank?”  It’s honestly the most popular question from both customers and my fellow co-workers. There is no simple answer! But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment?

Yes, the bank’s first year we had interns would have to be my favorite First County Bank moment. It was the beginning of many opportunities thereafter to expand and share my knowledge as an analyst and combine it with my passion for teaching.  Not many people know I originally wanted to be a high school biology teacher!  The continuation of the internship program has been both professionally and personally rewarding. Each year we further develop the program and it’s always an exciting experience.

Bank News, Employee Profile

Employee Profile: Meet Jennifer DaSilva

Meet Jennifer DaSilva, Corporate Secretary at our Summer Street office. Jennifer has worked at First County Bank for 17 years.

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

I’m a mother of two children, Tony, 28, and Mia, 19. I’m also the mom of two finicky cats! I love reading, hiking, and visiting local flea markets to add to my vinyl collection.

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

My favorite part of my role here at First County Bank has been working with the Foundation since its inception, in 2001. I’m honored to now have an intimate role within the Foundation committee as the Foundation Secretary. Spending time and assisting Rey (CEO) and Bob (President) is also rewarding.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment? This can be any moment at the Bank that has made an impact on your life.

A few years ago at one of the Bank’s Annual Celebration of Mutual Partnerships, the bank’s annual foundation event, I bumped into the wife of my middle school music teacher. Along with a few other students, he requested that I play in a flute quartet at their wedding over 30 years ago.

Jennifer currently works as the Corporate Secretary for Reyno Giallongo, Chief Operating Officer, and Bob Granata, President at our Summer Street offices.

Employee Profile, First County Bank Profile

Employee Profile: Meet Mark Ayen

Meet Mark Ayen– VP and Network Manager of the IT Department. Mark has been with the Bank for 17 years.

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

I was born in California, but have lived in lower Fairfield County most of my life.  Currently, I live in Norwalk with my wife, MaryLynn, and daughter, Veronica.  All three of us are taking classes.  I am in the UConn part-time MBA program; MaryLynn is working towards an accounting degree; and Veronica is a high school student at Brien McMahon high school.

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

My position affords me the opportunity to with colleagues in all functional areas of the Bank.  I enjoy learning about how the different operating divisions work together to create a functioning whole and using that knowledge to ensure IT provides a high level of service to its internal customers.                                                                        

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers, and how do you respond?

The most common question I receive from my fellow employees, who are my internal customers, is probably, “Can I have a new…”?  I use this question as an opportunity as a springboard for conversations about the customer’s actual need and the best way to resolve it.  Sometimes, the best way is by providing the new equipment or application originally requested, but sometimes we’re able to determine a better way that they didn’t originally consider.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment? This can be any moment at the Bank that has made an impact on your life.

My favorite First County Bank moment came before I even started working at the Bank.  When I was working for another bank, I attended a conference and was the sole attendee from my institution.  I ran into Tom Bartram and Toni Pellegrino (whom I had met at previous events), who invited me to hang out with the First County Bank contingent.  I had a great time and resolved to work for First County Bank if the opportunity ever presented itself.  A couple of years later, I had an opportunity to work for First County Bank and I jumped at the chance!

Employee Profile, First County Bank Profile

Employee Profile: Meet Lorraine Russo

Meet Lorraine Russo, a part-time receptionist at our Prospect Street location. Lorraine has been with us for two months.

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

I am a big fan of old black and white movies, even silent movies. I love to read, and my favorite author is Henning Mankell, a Swedish author whose books are very hard to find. When they do come out they have to be translated from Swedish to English which can take a year or two. I have read most of his books and have also have read all of Agatha Christie books. I‘m now moving on to finish all of Kate Morton’s books. My daughter says I am a voracious reader!

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

 I like being the receptionist and helping our customers with their inquiries.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers, and how do you respond?

Most customers I come across want to check their balance on their accounts.  I transfer them to the Call Center which will further assist them.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment? This can be any moment at the Bank that has made an impact on your life.

It was very rewarding to be able to help a customer with special needs find out more information about his account.

Anything else you’d like to say about your experience at the Bank?

Everyone at the Bank is very nice and very helpful.

Bank News, Employee Profile, First County Bank Profile

Employee Profile: Meet Mat DeRienzo

We’ve been sharing about some of our front-line branch personnel and now we’re expanding to share stories about our wonderful employees who you don’t always see, who support the First County Bank team employees behind the scenes.

This week we meet Mat DeRienzo, a Network/PC Specialist I who works in our IT department. Mat (with one “T”) started out with us four months ago as an intern and was hired to work at First County Bank full-time over the summer.

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

I am a huge Yankees fan. I also love everything car related and enjoy working on my own car when I get the chance. I’m also guilty of playing video games, which often results in me staying up later than I should on weekdays.

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

My favorite part about working in IT is being a problem solver. It gives me great satisfaction whenever I fix something.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers, and how do you respond?

The most frequent question I get asked is “can you unblock this site for me?” I normally respond by telling them there’s a process to follow and, unfortunately, I cannot do it on the spot.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment? This can be any moment at the Bank that has made an impact on your life.

My favorite moment was my internship. The work I received at First County Bank was not “busy work.” It was meaningful work that not only taught me a great deal of information, but was also rewarding. Even though I was only an intern at the time, I felt as if I was part of the team.

Anything else you’d like to say about your experience at the Bank (Optional)?

I’d like to say that I feel truly fortunate that my first job out of college is at First County Bank. I’m a pretty quiet person and was very anxious to embark in my first step to being a real adult. Everyone I interact with is incredibly kind and makes it much easier to be comfortable and confident.

Bank News, Employee Profile, First County Bank Profile, In Our Community

First County Bank Profile: Meet Maria Bivona

Maria Bivona was recently promoted to the position of Branch Manager at First County Bank’s Academy of Information, Technology and Engineering high school branch in Stamford.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in Sicily, Italy, and I moved to the United States in 2000. I live in Trumbull with my husband and our 9-year-old son. I love to spend time with my family traveling, watching movies, riding bikes and listening to music.

Currently, I’m attending my last year of the Connecticut School of Finance and Management and I am looking forward to graduation. I have worked at First County Bank for 11 years. I started as a teller in the New Canaan branch.

During my career with First County Bank, I had the pleasure of volunteering for many amazing community events, but my ultimate favorite event was the benefit walk for Bennett Cancer Center’s patients called “Hope in Motion.” It’s great to see the entire community come together to support those whose lives have been impacted by such a terrible disease.

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

My favorite part of my role with First County Bank is being able to establish a strong relationship with my coworkers and customers. I love being able to assist people and help address any of their concerns. I really enjoy interacting with customers and feel a sense of accomplishment when they leave with a big smile on their face!

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment?

I have many special moments with First County Bank and picking one is almost impossible. I find it extremely rewarding helping and encouraging others to achieve both their financial and personal goals. I find it very satisfying when a customer leaves my office thanking me for my assistance and support.

Employee Profile, First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Meet Jennifer Garcia

Jennifer Garcia is the Assistant Branch Manager at First County Bank’s Prospect Street branch in Stamford.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve been with First County Bank since I graduated high school and have loved all the years I’ve been here. I’ve grown up and learned a lot about myself and the banking industry. I am now married and have recently purchased my first home. I was able to breeze through the home buying process thanks to everything I’ve learned working at First County Bank.

Currently, I’m starting my senior year at the University of Bridgeport and look forward to continuing my education. I particularly enjoy spending free time with my husband and my dog Brady (named after Tom Brady; we are a New England Patriots household).

Throughout my ten years at First County Bank I’ve had the pleasure of volunteering for many community events, but my ultimate favorite event has to be the Thanksgiving UBS balloon parade every year. I love seeing all the families gathered together to watch the parade.

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

My favorite part of my role with First County Bank is the ability to learn and grow within the company. I’ve had great mentors throughout my years at First County Bank and have learned a lot from them. Due to the knowledge I’ve gained I have been able to successfully become an assistant branch manager. I am very grateful that I’ve had such amazing coworkers.

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment?

I have many favorite moments with First County Bank. I must say that I enjoy the holiday parties because all employees from different departments and branches get to interact with each other. It is a time when we recognize and celebrate our hard work throughout the year. Everyone I’ve ever met at First County Bank has been a pleasure to work with and I’ve created great friendships.

Employee Profile, First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Meet Elizabeth Grajeda

Elizabeth Grajeda is the Assistant Branch Manager at First County Bank’s Shippan branch in Stamford.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born in Guatemala and moved to the United States in 1994, thanks to my mother who wanted a better life for me and my sisters. I am the first child of five and a proud mother of two girls and one boy. I have always lived in Stamford and have never seen my life outside here. I love spending my free time with my family watching movies and soccer, eating ice cream, going to the park or just relaxing at home with them. One of my biggest obsessions is shopping for shoes- different types, sizes, colors- and I love to match them up with my clothes (but what woman doesn’t, though!).

I started my career at First County Bank in 2004 as a teller at the Atlantic Street branch and worked my way up to Supervisor and then Assistant Manager in 2013. I love to work with people, listen to them, and help them out with their needs. I also love to volunteer in different community and bank events. One of my favorite ones has always been the Stamford Thanksgiving Balloon Parade, even though it’s cold, but I love it because it’s fun.

What is your favorite part of your role with First County Bank?
My favorite part of working at First County Bank is my interaction with people: to be able to help them out with their needs and give them advice. I also enjoy the long term relationships and friends I’ve made through the years. I have been able to see families opening their newborn’s first savings account, and then, after years passing by, seeing that child growing up and coming in to open their first checking account or credit card.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
“How do you do it?”
In my branch we have always worn different hats, from teller to manager. I always have a smile on my face and a positive attitude towards everything I do.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite First County Bank moments are when I am able to be a part of my customers’ and employees’ lives, achievements and needs, and when I am able to serve the community.

 

Employee Profile, First County Bank Profile

#FridaysinFairfield: Meet Amal Hamioui

Meet Amal Hamioui, Teller, Fairfield Branch in this final edition of #FridayinFairfield.

Tell us about yourself.
My name is Amal Hamioui I recently moved to the United States two years ago from Morocco after finishing my Bachelors in Economics.  It’s been hard leaving everything behind but so far the new experience has been worth it.

Moving to this country has taught me to be independent; it has also motivated me to become a better version of myself. My goal is to not only be a successful individual but also to be successful in my career.

What separates First County Bank from other Banks?
I think because we are a community bank and we’ve been in existence for a very long time, we consider and treat our customers like family and our number one priority is to help them, and that what separate us from other banks

What excites you the most about the new Fairfield Branch?
The opportunity to learn and grow with very supportive colleagues in this new position.

What’s something someone may not know about First County Bank?
First County Bank offers online banking which I believe to be an important service that accommodates our fast-paced life. This service offers customers the ability to deposit checks and use the money management tool to manage their accounts.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
My favorite moment is when I interviewed for the job; I was welcomed as a member of the First County Bank family, it just felt like it was the right place to be from the start.

Employee Profile, 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!