Bank News, The CEO's Posts

First County Bank Announces Executive Leadership Promotion

Stamford, Conn., September 17, 2018 – First County Bank announced Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr. will retire in August 2019. He has held the position of CEO since 2011. Under the succession plan, approved by the Board of Directors and effective August of 2019, Giallongo will be succeeded by Robert Granata, current president and COO. Willard M. Miley was promoted to executive vice president by the Board of Directors on August 1, 2018 and in August of 2019 Mr. Miley will assume the role of president and COO as Mr. Granata’s successor. This announcement comes from a deliberate, carefully thought out strategic succession plan.  The Bank will use the coming year to transition its internal, external and community partnerships with a seamless change in leadership.

“We want to ensure our customers and employees that we are taking a strategic approach to our executive leadership plan and have the best in mind for the Bank, now and in the future,” said Rey Giallongo, First County Bank chairman and CEO. “Bob Granata and I have been working closely together to assure a smooth transition of the executive and board leadership of the Bank. We are also excited to announce Willard’s promotion to executive vice president. The board and I are confident the succession plan will continue to steer First County Bank successfully now and into the future.”

Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr. is chairman and CEO of First County Bank and has served in this capacity since 2011. In addition, he is president of the First County Bank Foundation. Mr. Giallongo serves as chairman of the board of directors of the Business Council of Fairfield County and serves as board member of the Housing Development Fund. He served as a member of the Connecticut Bankers Association board of directors; was chairman of the board of commissioners of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District; was a member of the ABA’s Community Bank Council; and served on the New York Federal Reserve Bank Community Depository Institutions Advisory Council, (CDIAC). Mr. Giallongo earned a master’s degree in business administration and finance from Babson College, his bachelor’s in business administration from Salem State University and graduated from Stonier Graduate School of Banking.

Robert Granata is president, COO of First County Bank and has served the bank in this capacity since 2014. Mr. Granata brings more than 31 years of experience to the role and is a corporator of First County Bank and on the Board of Directors of the Fairfield County Hospice House, the Ferguson Library and the Mill River Park Collaborative. He also serves on the Leadership Council for Childcare Learning Centers. Mr. Granata earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint Anselm College, graduated from New England School of Banking at Williams College and National School of Banking at Fairfield University.

Willard M. Miley is executive vice president, after being promoted from senior vice president, retail banking division. Mr. Miley brings 35 years of experience to his role and started his First County Bank career in 2002. He currently serves on the board of directors for The Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF). Miley earned his bachelor’s degree in business from The University of Bridgeport. He graduated from the National School of Banking at Fairfield University and the Connecticut School of Finance and Management.

About First County Bank

 First County Bank, headquartered in Stamford, Conn. for more than 165 years, is an independent mutual community bank with 16 branches in Stamford, Norwalk, Darien, Greenwich, Fairfield, New Canaan and Westport offering deposit products, mortgages, wealth management, business banking services, and a full array of digital banking products including mobile and online banking. First County Bank has more than 220 employees, assets in excess of $1.5 billion and is a 2016-2018 Women’s Choice Award winner. For additional information, please visit https://www.firstcountybank.com. Become a fan by clicking “Like” on the bank’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/firstcountybank. Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/firstcountybank, view and follow us on Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/firstcountybank, watch us on YouTube at http://www.firstcountybank.com/camera or connect with First County Bank on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/920207.

 

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Lifestyle Trends & Tips, Miscellaneous, The CEO's Posts

The Dog Days of Summer

August is known as the “Dog Days of Summer.” To celebrate this and to have a little fun, First County Bank showcased our furry, four-legged friends with their loyal human companions. Our Chairman and CEO, Rey Giallongo, even joined in the fun by sharing a photo of his pals Powell and his brother, Joe. Rey said Powell and Joe are special because they were service dogs with Puppies Behind Bars. Powell and Joe think Rey is special too because he takes them for walks and gives them treats. Check out our photo gallery to see our employees with their top dogs!

 

The CEO's Posts

Happy Holidays

RGCEOsanta_hatOn behalf of the entire First County Bank Family, I would like to wish you a happy holiday season and express our appreciation for your continued business and support.

As we enjoy this special time of year, let’s remember to celebrate the many blessings in our lives. The blessings of family and friends, first and foremost.

Whether you plan to travel or stay home for the holidays, I wish you all Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!

May all your days be merry and bright.

Smart Savings Tips, The CEO's Posts

On Building an Emergency Fund – How Much for That New Transmission?!

RGCEO1According to conventional wisdom, everyone will at some time have a need for emergency funds. Unfortunately, many people still live their lives “paycheck to paycheck.” As a result, setting aside money for unexpected expenses can be a real strain on one’s household.

Before we tackle the issue of how to save for a rainy day, let’s figure out how much to save “just in case.” Most companies and nonprofits I work with say having six months worth of expenses set aside should carry their organization through a financial emergency. I think the same holds true for most families. A good starting point is to set aside at least six months of living expenses – household expenses, food and clothing allowances, health care costs and, of course, transportation expenses, to name a few.

Sure, this is easier said than done so here is some help on how to start. First, set a goal and talk with one of our financial experts at First County Bank about enrolling in an automatic savings program, which can be set up to deposit a portion of your paycheck to a savings account. Our trusted advisors will help you navigate your options to find the best savings plan to suit your individual lifestyle. The key is having immediate liquidity so be sure you don’t tie your emergency fund up in a CD, which generally makes funds harder to access at a minute’s notice. Investment products are also not the best vehicle for an emergency fund because of their inherent risk so you may want to steer clear of those.

Another tip is, resist the temptation to spend your tax refund and add it to this emergency account instead. Additionally, reviewing your expenses carefully may provide you with an opportunity to plan your budget and watch unnecessary expenses until you have achieved your financial goal. There are many easy-to-use online tools to help you save; a simple Google search is a good starting point for that.

Finally, resist the temptation to break open this “piggy bank” for a vacation or any expense that doesn’t meet the definition of an emergency. You’ll find that the alternatives to not having an emergency fund—like borrowing from a friend or family member—  aren’t ideal. Just watch any episode of Judge Judy to see how badly that can end.

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

In Our Community, The CEO's Posts

Let’s Drive Sales!

RGCEO11First County Bank recently partnered with the Business Council of Fairfield County to offer Supplier Connection, a service designed to provide local businesses with opportunities to connect with potential business partners. Chairman and CEO, Rey Giallongo shares background on the program and the potential benefits to our customers and neighbors.

We’ve always celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit we find in our small business clients. This spirit is especially important as we all work to speed up this slow growth economy. We know the numbers are startling. Most jobs – both created and retained – come from smaller, non-Fortune 500 type companies in our neighborhoods. What better way to create jobs than to drive sales and sales growth?

That’s our motivation for partnering with the Business Council of Fairfield County to make available Supplier-Connection.net through our website, firstcountybank.com. This is a free, cloud-based initiative created by IBM to match diverse small businesses offering an array of products and services to Fortune 500 companies looking to buy.

It’s pretty simple as it allows business owners to become part of a sophisticated and robust supply-chain network, which gets them noticed and matched with buyers.

This platform gets business owners past the receptionist and gatekeepers to directly in front of buyers from companies such as Pitney Bowes, UIL, Merck, IBM and many others who are ready to buy.

And, it works. According to IBM, Supplier Connection has help channel over $7B from participating partner corporations to registered small businesses since it started in 2011.

There’s plenty of upside here, so please take a moment and visit www.firstcountybank.com/supplier-connection to learn more.

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.

The CEO's Posts

Happy Holidays

RGCEOsanta_hatOn behalf of the entire First County Bank Family, I would like to wish you a happy holiday season and express our appreciation for your continued business and support.

As we enjoy this special time of year, let’s remember to celebrate the many blessings in our lives. The blessings of family and friends, first and foremost.

Whether you plan to travel or stay home for the holidays, I wish you all Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanzaa and Happy New Year!

May all your days be merry and bright.

HappyHolidays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bank News, The CEO's Posts

Happy Thanksgiving

RGCEO11As this time of year approaches, I am reminded of the following words by President John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them.” Powerful statement which can be applied not only to Thanksgiving but also to life, how we live day by day, who we are or strive to become. Every year, month, day, moment gives us an opportunity to change, to grow to show our thanks, our appreciation, our gratitude.

The holidays often stir emotions of home and hearth, of giving, forgiving and/or acceptance. Whether you spend it with family, friends or a significant other, remember to take stock in what’s important in your life, whether it’s health, home, family and friends, a moment that inspired you, a conversation that encouraged you to grow, a child’s laughter, a dog’s love. They are all blessings and they all matter.

Give thanks and show your thanks every day. And when doing so, send blessings to those less fortunate in our community and around the world. Natural disasters like the deadly Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the Tornado that hit Oklahoma City came without warning and left a wake of disaster in their path. Our wonderful group of Bank Employees always answer, when called. We raised money for both natural and man-made disasters by just asking for help. It has been through a monthly Jeans Day for a cause or collecting food at our employee meetings to help fill the Food Bank’s pantry.

As I reflect on the year, I am thankful for many blessings. Most importantly my dear family and friends, the wonderful employees, executives and corporators of First County Bank and their families, our community partners and nonprofit organizations that give tirelessly to the community. I am thankful that this year, we have nearly reached the $6M mark in total grants awarded to nonprofits in lower Fairfield County since the Foundation’s inception in 2001. I am blessed that I get to go to work everyday excited about the service we provide at the Bank and contributions we make to our community.

I wish you all a safe and Happy Thanksgiving and trust your day will be filled with great food and libations and perhaps some football. And remember to not only utter words of thanks, live by them this Thanksgiving day and every day.

Bank News, The CEO's Posts

Out with the Old. Security-Enhanced Debit Cards Coming Soon.

RGCEO11Say goodbye to the 1960s’ technology in your pocket. We at First County Bank, as well as most banks nationally, will be issuing new debit cards to our customers early this fall adding the new EMV chip to your debit card. The EMV chip is actually a computer chip embedded in your card to authenticate transactions, improve payment security and reduce the likelihood of fraudsters stealing account information. These enhancements come in the wake of very well-publicized frauds at Home Depot, Target and other retailers.

Retailers will be adding new in-store technology and payment processes to accommodate this change. Industry experts anticipate 700 million new cards will be issued. Card users will be affected as the well-known “swipe” will be replaced with “the dip” meaning cards will need to remain in the reader until the transaction is complete and either a signature or PIN added. If a merchant has not yet converted to the new point-of-sale EMV technology, the reader will default to the less secure magnetic stripe information on the reverse side of the card.

The U.S. is the last major market still using the magnetic-stripe card system. Many European countries moved to EMV technology years ago to combat high fraud rates. The upcoming shift to the EMV card should help many of our customers when they travel.

We are very aware of how inconvenient it is for our customers when we are notified of actual or potential fraud on your debit card and have to reissue your card. This enhanced chip technology will better protect your information, should be easy to use and be more accepted globally now that this technology will soon become standard in the U.S.

We’ll provide you with more information as we begin to the reissue process but rest assured using your debit card remains a secure and efficient way to make purchases.