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!

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, First County Bank Profile, In Our Community

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, 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.

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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.

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.

 

First County Bank Profile, In Our Community

Richard Evanko 2018 CLC Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee

Richard Evanko, Vice President

Richard Evanko, Vice President, Business Banking Manager

Congratulations Richard “Rich” Evanko on being a Children’s Learning Center (CLC) 2018 Alumni Hall of Fame Inductee.

Rich joined First County Bank in 2015 and serves as a Vice President and Business Banking Manager. In this position, he is responsible for managing the business development team, origination of commercial relationships, and client retention.

In the local community, Rich is active with the Stamford Chamber of Commerce where he is Chairman of the Young Professionals Council and on the Board of Directors. He is also involved as a member of CLC’s Finance Committee and the United Way.Rich is a lifelong resident of Stamford, CT.

Join us in congratulating Rich on this great achievement.

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.

First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Jagjiwan Singh

Jagjiwan Singh

Meet Jagiwan Singh, Business Development Officer in this First County Bank Profile as we celebrate National Small Business Week.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I have been with the Bank in the Business Banking Division and in this position as Business Development Officer for almost two years. I love what I do as I get to meet business owners and help them in any phase of their business cycle. In my free time, I love spending time with my wife and two boys; our favorite activity is going cycling in the summer time to the beach.

What separates First County Bank from other Banks?
I came from mid-sized and large banks therefore I can personally tell how we differ from other banks and its simple: we are a mutual bank therefore we do not have the pressure of reporting back to shareholders; instead we can focus on our customers, community, and employees.

Another thing that makes us different is flexibility with our business lending products and criteria.  Did you know that we have a small business loan product called BusinessFirst Express that is very streamlined and delivered like a fintech solution?  The decision process can be as short as 48 hours!

What excites you the most about the new Fairfield Branch?
It’s a great feeling being in Town of Fairfield, especially downtown as Fairfield is such a welcoming community! We were welcomed by First Selectman Mike Tetreau and Chamber of Commerce President Beverly A. Balaz.

What excites me the most is the energy level we have in the branch; the whole team from Branch Manager to Tellers are thrilled to be part of this great location!

What’s something someone may not know about First County Bank?
Most of the nonprofits I have visited in Fairfield County do not know how much we have given back to the community. They do not know about our First County Bank Foundation which was started in 2001 or that it has provided over $8.2 million in grants and this truly shows who we are.

What is your favorite First County Bank moment?
When I started with First County Bank it was Summer of 2016 and my Manager Rich Evanko provided me with over 10 checks to be delivered to nonprofit organizations. I was shocked as coming from a big bank we had never done anything like this; it was a great feeling that I can never forget. The smiles on the faces of those who really needed the funds showed me how much we really care about the community in which we serve.

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!