First County Advisors/Wealth Management, First County Bank Profile

First County Bank Profile: Paul Bubniak

Paul Bubniak cropped 2Meet Paul Bubniak, Vice President, Trust & Investment Officer.

Tell us a little about yourself.
Laureen, my wife of 34 years, and I have raised 5 children together, the middle three children being triplets. The oldest four have graduated with advanced degrees and have moved on with their successful careers. My youngest son is still pursuing a University degree.

My current hobby has been “Wedding Planner” for my eldest daughter who will wed this July.  I also enjoy all sports, both as a spectator and in some cases a participant. Our annual Family “Jersey Shore” beach vacation is always a top priority and fun time for all.

What is your favorite part of your role at First County Bank?
My favorite part of my job is being out in the community, meeting different people who have a variety of financial concerns. Creating successful solutions for them is extremely rewarding, as is their appreciation and gratitude.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
The most recent frequently asked questions I have been receiving lately have been political in nature, and how it relates to financial positions and the future of the stock market and global economy.  However, in general the most frequent question is: “How we can manage risk and enhance solid consistent returns?”

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment?
Yes – my most favorite moment was when I was traveling from my home in Danbury to a client meeting in Darien when I experienced mechanical problems with my car. I was close to our Norwalk branch and called the Branch Manager for help in finding a tow truck. The manager called another member of the bank who had a friend who owned a gas station close to where my vehicle was stranded.

Within minutes a tow truck arrived for my car and a Bank employee from the Darien branch came to pick me up in Norwalk. This employee drove me back to the Darien branch just in time for my 10 a.m. meeting. We proceeded to open a significant investment management account for our client without missing a beat. That truly displayed the teamwork and culture present at our Bank – the ability to tow my car and deliver me all the way to the Darien branch for my morning appointment in time.

Bank News, First County Bank Profile, Smart Savings Tips

Interview with AITE Branch Student-Employee, Justin Blum

Justin_BlumIn September 2016, First County Bank opened a limited-access bank branch at The Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE) high school in Stamford, CT. With the first school year coming to a close, we took some time to talk to one of our AITE Branch student-employees to hear about his experience working at the AITE Branch.

Justin Blum is a graduating senior at AITE and in the fall will continue his education at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS), Amherst. Here are some highlights from the interview:

What were your initial thoughts about being a student-employee of First County Bank at AITE?
Well, at first I thought it was an interesting concept – opening a branch in a high school. I then realized it would be a great opportunity for me as a student. I want to study business in college, so I knew this would be a great opportunity for me to get real experience in the “business world”.

What surprised you the most about your experience in the financial industry?
The amount of different regulations was surprising. I had never really considered the amount of regulations in place to protect not only the Bank but the customers as well. One thing I did learn was that banking is much more personable than I previously thought. I expected to crunch numbers most of the day in a stricter, more formal environment. This was not the case, much of my job centered on the customer experience and building relationships!

What’s a key educational takeaway from your experience?
I accomplished my main goal of learning about the business world – it’s a complex place. It was interesting to understand how transactions are handled between deposits and withdrawals, especially how things done today can affect something further down the road.

How will you use the skills you’ve learned in college?
I’ve learned how to think more critically. I believe I can use the complexity of the behind-the-scenes work that I’ve learned and apply it when learning new materials in college courses and better connect the dots. It’ll give me an advantage in class and the ability to help my future classmates.

What financial tip or lesson would you share with a friend or family member based on your experience?
The most important tip I would share is to save. Building a savings is something my family has always instilled in me, it was only further reinforced by working in the branch. Today many of my friends are getting their license and starting to drive – it is now much easier for us to go a spend money on things we don’t necessarily need. I’d encourage everyone to carefully track their spending and begin to set money aside in case of an emergency.

At UMASS, Amherst Justin will pursue a double major in Business and Psychology. He hopes to one day become a Human Resources Psychologist or Business Consultant. We wish Justin and all graduating seniors of AITE the best of luck in all their future endeavors!

Bank News

First County Bank a Top Lender of 2016

houseIn a recent article 2016 Top Lenders, published by the Commercial Record, First County Bank is noted as a Top Lender of 2016. The Top Lender results “compiled with data gathered by The Warren Group, highlights the top residential and commercial mortgage lenders in the state by both volume and number of loans.”

We are pleased to announce that we were noted as a top lender in Fairfield County for both residential and commercial mortgages. We were also recognized as a top multifamily mortgage lender in the state of Connecticut!

“They were good transactions for us, and I think they were great transactions for the communities where these apartment buildings were located,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, Chairman and CEO, First County Bank. “It kept good quality stock in those towns with good quality sponsors.”

Bank News

First County Bank Adds New Branch Manager

CM4_3001 BIG croppedWe are pleased to announce the recent addition of Duncan T. Lee. He joins the Bank’s Retail Banking Division as branch manager of the 1135 Post Road East, Westport, CT branch.

“We continually look to enhance our team by recruiting talented bankers and we welcome Duncan, with his 20 years of banking experience and recognition for sales and customer satisfaction,” said Reyno Giallongo, First County Bank’s chairman and CEO. “Duncan will be responsible for managing customer relationships and new business development for our Westport branch.”

As a branch manager, Duncan is responsible for managing branch customer service performance and cultivating relationships with community, industry and professional contacts. He is committed to helping customers and businesses select the best banking solution to achieve their goals.

Prior to joining First County Bank, Lee worked at several large banks in New York and Connecticut where he was a branch and district manager. In 1994, Duncan started his banking career in Westport. He has a B.S. in Marketing from Quinnipiac University.

Duncan is a resident of Stamford, CT and when not working, he enjoys time spent with his son and family. He is an active member in the community with the Chamber of Commerce in Stamford, CT, Scarsdale and Bedford, NY.

First County Bank Profile

Get to Know Justyna Nurczyk

Justyna Nurczyk

Justyna Nurczyk

Meet Justyna Nurczyk Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager, Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS# 773376.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I currently live in Stamford with my husband and three kids. I have been working at First County Bank for the past 12 years. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family. We like to play tennis and go hiking and camping on weekends.

What is your favorite part of your role at First County Bank?
The best part of working at First County Bank is my ability to make a difference and be a part of a customer’s experience. It’s a great opportunity to get to know people and help them find the best solutions for their banking and financial needs. It’s very rewarding when customers whom I’ve helped refer their friends, family or colleagues to me.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
“Where is your accent from?”

What advice would you give someone looking to buy or sell in 2017?
It’s a good time to buy or sell. The interest rates are still low and the purchase market is starting to get very busy.

Smart Savings Tips

Cuban, Zuckerberg, Sorkin and Company Build Financial Literacy Awareness with #MySavingsTip

gearcoinIn an effort to build awareness around financial literacy, the Council for Economic Education (CEE) kicked-off a month-long financial literacy initiative with the help of Mark Cuban, Randi Zuckerberg, Andrew Ross Sorkin and many others. This campaign known simply as “My Savings Tips” works to raise the awareness of personal savings, personal finance and general economic education around the country.

The #MySavingsTip campaign is currently running across various social media platforms throughout April. Follow the campaign via Twitter or Facebook, or make your own difference by using the hashtag #MySavingsTip!

Here are some savings tips from Bank employees:

“A good way to start saving is by eliminating a simple purchase per week, like a coffee. Savings on a ‘coffee’ per week can lead to big savings over the course of a year.”
– Sheila Content, Branch Manager, AITE Branch

“Pay yourself first – when you get a paycheck, pay yourself by immediately depositing a portion of it into a savings account.”
– Mark Rosenbloom, VP, Cash Management Services Manager

“Hindsight is always 20-20. Don’t let savings be something you wish you had, start building your savings today.”
– Chris Strauss, VP, Risk & Credit Division

“Change your mindset – when you see your paycheck your first question should be, ‘how much can I save?’ instead of ‘how much can I spend?’”
– Prasanta Nath, Assistant Branch Manager, Prospect St. Branch

“Easiest way to save – set-up your account so that a percentage of your paycheck is automatically deducted and placed in a savings account before you even get your paycheck. If it’s not there, you won’t miss it!”
– Debbie Anderson, VP, Mortgage Lending Operations

First County Bank Profile

Get to Know Jennifer Lima

Jennifer Lima Meet Jennifer Lima, Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager, Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS# 773360.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been at First County Bank for 16 years, and the branch manager of the Shippan Ave Branch for 10 years. I currently live in Stamford with my husband and 3 boys. When I am not working, I sit on the Board of Directors for a local nonprofit organization, Kiwanis of Stamford. In my free time I love spending time with my kids and watching them participate in various sports activities.

What is your favorite Part of your role at First County Bank?
I love facing different situations and finding the right solutions for my customers. One of my favorite solutions is helping customers get into their dream home – I always try to make the process as easy as possible for them.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
How quickly can I close on my loan and is it complicated?  Customers like to have a smooth process and I always do my best to make that happen.

What advice would you give someone looking to buy or sell in 2017?
There are good programs available, take advantage of the rates now while they’re still low. Also take your time, make sure you are buying what you really want and need

Bank News

Michael Yao Joins First County Bank’s Commercial Banking Division

022B3918-1 croppedWe’re pleased to announce the recent hiring of Michael “Mike” Yao, who joins the Bank’s Commercial Banking Division as vice president, senior commercial banking officer. The addition of Yao demonstrates our commitment to further meet the needs of its commercial customers and the business community.

“Mike will be originating and building commercial business for the Bank. With over 30 years of expertise in commercial banking, he will be a strong contributor the Bank’s relationship management and lending team.” said Reyno Giallongo, First County Bank’s chairman and CEO.

Prior to joining First County Bank, Mike held commercial lending and portfolio management officer positions with several banks in Connecticut. Most of his banking career was spent in Fairfield County building commercial banking relationships. Yao has extensive banking and portfolio management experience with Commercial and Industrial Small Business Administration and Commercial Real Estate lending.

Yao is a member of the Housatonic Industrial Development Corporation Board of Directors since 2012, and vice president since 2012, along with being active with the Make A Wish Foundation of CT. He has an M.B.A. in Corporate Finance from University of New Haven and a B.S. in Accounting from Central Connecticut State University. Yao and his family reside in Trumbull, CT.

First County Bank Foundation

Apply Today for the Richard E. Taber Scholarship

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Reyno Giallongo, President, First County Bank Foundation, Richard E. “Dick” Taber and Karen Kelly, Vice President, First County Bank Foundation present three $5,000 to Vanessa Giraldo, Douglas Raigosa and Allison Tovar the 2016 Richard E. Taber Scholarship recipients.

In 2011, after 40 years of service, Richard “Dick” E. Taber retired from the Bank as Chairman and CEO. His retirement also removed him from an initiative he had championed during his time at the Bank, the First County Bank Foundation. To honor Dick and all the good he did for the Bank, we award the Richard E. Taber Scholarship to graduating high school seniors in his honor.

The Richard E. Taber Citizenship Award rewards high school seniors residing in lower Fairfield County towns of Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Westport, or Norwalk who are overall well-rounded citizens. The criteria for selection are best defined by the word C.L.A.S.S. (Citizenship; Leadership; Academics; Service; Sportsmanship). Unlike many scholarships based on top academic achievement or athletic ability, this one is weighted towards demonstrated leadership and caring for the community in which we live. The Foundation will award three $5,000 scholarships to three deserving high school seniors in our community.

Application forms are accepted from January 1st to May 1st. In an effort to make the application process easier and more convenient we now offer the application online. To apply, click here or visit the link below.


In Our Community

Local Executives Work to Create a Philanthropic Corporate Culture

Photo: Michael Cummo / Hearst Connecticut Media

Photo: Michael Cummo / Hearst Connecticut Media

This past Tuesday local executives met at the First County Bank Executive Offices to hold a panel discussion on philanthropic strategies within the community. The panel event, organized by the Mark Lapine Endowment for Families in Business Foundation, discussed key factors in engaging the nonprofit community. Local executives on the panel were:

  • Cindi Bigelow, President and CEO, Bigelow Tea
  • Reyno Giallongo, Jr., Chairman and CEO, First County Bank, and President, First County Bank Foundation
  • Tiffany Kuehner, Board Chair and former CEO, Hope for Haiti
  • Mike Maguire, CEO, Structural Graphics, and Co-founder, Raise the Roof
  • Ashok Vasudevan, Co-founder and CEO, Preferred Brands International, Chairman of the Board, Tasty Bite Eatables Ltd.
  • Moderator: Noah Lapine, Owner, President of Lapine Associates

“We believe that engagement in the nonprofit community should come from an individual’s DNA,” said Rey Giallongo, Jr. Recognizing this many of these executives credit their employees for engaging and fulfilling many of the initiatives they are involved in. “Be there . . . be loud. . .” said Mike Maguire, whether it’s community events or encouraging employees, being authentic about your values and mission play an important role in strengthening local communities.