Small Business Saturday is back again tomorrow, Saturday, November 30! While many anchor chain stores are “dealing” with Black Friday, small businesses are preparing for Main Street shoppers looking to support the small businesses in their area. It is one of the biggest day of sales for the 23 million small businesses in the US who represent about 54 percent of all U.S . retail sales, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is encouraging shoppers to not only “shop small” tomorrow but also year round. Whether a bookstore, cafe, auto-shop, any small business or mom-and-pop, we inspire you to buy local and invite your family and friends to do so as well! Spending money in our lower Fairfield County shops helps boost small businesses which helps them create jobs which in turn powers the economy and revitalizes our community. Shop small, spread the word and know that you’re doing your part by giving back to the community you live in! Happy Small Business Shopping!
Last Wednesday, First County Advisors, the wealth management division of First County Bank, hosted an evening networking and educational event titled “From Fiscal Drag to Wealth Effect” featuring Phil Orlando of Federated Investors, Inc. The event was a complimentary seminar hosted by David M. Metzgar, CFP, CTFA, Senior Vice President and Senior Trust Officer, First County Advisors.
First County Advisors were thrilled to provide customers and guests an opportunity to hear Philip J. Orlando, CFA Senior Vice President, Chief Equity Market Strategist Federated Investors, Inc. as the event’s keynote speaker. Phil spoke to a packed house at Hotel Zero Degrees in Norwalk.
Phil’s presentation included an overview of the economy and markets, perspective on the recent Washington debacle, what activity to anticipate in the markets, and what perked all ears: how to make money in the markets now. A lively question and answer session followed.
Dave wrapped up the event encouraging participants to consider First County Advisors for their investment, estate and wealth management needs. He and his group received overwhelmingly positive feedback for the evening with many participants interested in further discussion. If you would like to contact Dave about your investment management needs, please email him at email@example.com or call him directly at 203.462.4267.
As many of you might know, First County Bank embraces technology and has launched many new technology-driven initiatives over the past 12 to 18 months. As a Community Bank, we don’t have the resources to develop new technologies internally and instead buy the best of breed from industry-leading vendors. The process begins long before new technology gets rolled out as we test drive new products to ensure that they can meet our customers’ needs.
This past year, we introduced our Mobile Banking App found in the iTunes store and Google Play. We know the use of mobile devices is growing exponentially. At home, our PC gets light duty in favor of our iPads.
Many of you use your mobile devices to interact with us to pay bills and check balances through our website, which was originally designed for PC use. We have made that interaction even better by converting our site to a responsive website design. This means that we have re-built our website to detect the mobile device you are using and display its content optimally for the particular device in question, be it an iPhone, an Android or an iPad. This is one of the latest innovations available in the world of website development.
Why is this important? It’s very simple. We have thousands of clients who visit our website each month through a mobile device so we wanted to provide them with the best experience possible.
Take a moment to check it out and, as always, let us know what you think.
The First County Bank Foundation recently distributed $91,000 in grants to Norwalk-based nonprofit organizations that focus on family services, housing, community support and education programs. Of the $91,000, $5,000 were CommunityFirst Grants awarded to two organizations; Breakthrough Options for Families and Stepping Stones Museum for Children.
This year marks the first time the foundation awarded a grant to Keystone House, Inc. Founded in 1972, Keystone House provides residential and psychosocial services to Norwalk area adults with psychiatric disabilities.
“We are thrilled to add Keystone House to our list of grant recipients. Our grant helps to provide residents with the financial support needed to maintain household items and furnishings necessary to live independently in their own apartment home,” said Rey Giallongo, president of the First County Bank Foundation and chairman and CEO of First County Bank. “Having a place like Keystone House is vital to our community as it gives participants a place to go and learn how to lead quality lives.”
Since its inception in 2001, the First County Bank Foundation has awarded over 760 individual grants, worth $5.8 million.
The list of Norwalk-based nonprofits who received First County Bank Foundation grants is available at: First County Bank Press Releases.
First County Bank Network Specialist, Steve Kinney, recently entered the world of social media superstardom because of his love for his favorite football team and a touching family moment, which resonated with hundreds of thousands around the world. We are happy to share his heartwarming story, even though, Steve remains adamant about redirecting the attention to a cause close to his heart – the fight against cancer waged by St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. He is hopeful that his recent social media exposure will bring attention to the support needed by organizations such as St. Jude’s and help save lives.
On October 6, Connecticut resident Brian Kinney presented his dad Steve Kinney with a Cincinnati Bengals hat, a jersey autographed by Bengals quarterback, Andy Dalton, and the grand finale — two tickets to the Bengals vs. Jets game Sunday, October 27 at Paul Brown stadium. A birthday gift from his family, Steve went from cheers to tears as the realization of the trip to Cincinnati to watch his favorite team set in. Steve’s been a fan since the team’s inception in 1968, the same year he lost his 2 year old brother Tommy to cancer.
What’s most interesting about this story is how it impacted hundreds of thousands of people, all over the world. You see, Steve’s daughter Kelly video taped the birthday surprise and Brian posted it on YouTube, for one friend to view. His friend was so touched by Steve’s response to the gift, he posted the video on the Bengals Reddit feed. And off it went — approaching half a million views and lots of comments.
Why the popularity? It seems the universal connection is love — reaching out and touching someone out of love. And that kind of energy has a momentum all its own, so much so that it inspired Bob Bedinghaus, the Bengals director of business development to reach out to the Kinneys and treat them to a dinner at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse before the game. In turn, Steve asked Bob if players would sign gear he and Brian will bring to auction off and donate the money to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital — in honor of his brother Tommy and to thank the hospital for all they did during his battle with cancer. The circle of life and love — now that’s a story worth telling and sharing. For the full article visit: Steve Kinney Story
Lapine, an award-winning merchandise agency focused on building brands through creative merchandise solutions announced the formation of the Mark Lapine Endowment for Families in Business.
The Mark Lapine Endowment for Families in Business was created in honor of the 50th anniversary of Lapine, as well as to recognize Mark Lapine’s 50 years of service to the company he founded with his father, David S. Lapine, in 1962. Mark has been a pillar, both within the Lapine company and the community of Stamford. The endowment will serve as a symbol of his character and his lasting contributions. The mission of the endowment is to provide resources to families in business in Stamford and the surrounding community of lower Fairfield County.
“For both my family and our business, the community has always been at the heart of what we do and we are excited for the opportunity to give back to it,” said Noah Lapine, president of Lapine. “We’ve experienced both the challenges and the gifts of a family business and with this endowment we are able to share the resources we were given with others.”
Two of Lapine’s longstanding collaborators, First County Bank and the University of New Haven Center for Family Business, are joining in partnership with Lapine on establishing the endowment.
“First County Bank is proud to join Lapine and the University of New Haven Center for Family Business in providing support and resources for family owned businesses.” said Rey Giallongo, Chairman and CEO of First County Bank. “Family owned businesses are imbedded in the fabric of our local community and their success is key to the livelihood of Fairfield County,” added Giallongo. Both of these organizations share Lapine’s values of giving back to the local community and helping family businesses thrive.
According 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.
As people are living longer due to healthier lifestyles and medical advancements, it is important to keep a watchful eye on our grandparents and other elders in our lives. September 8th was Grandparents Day, which got me thinking about how important it is to protect our elderly from financial abuse such as identity theft and other fraudulent behavior.
As we age, we become targets of unscrupulous people, some of whom are strangers and some of whom may even be family or close caregivers. Unfortunately we hear about both scenarios from our client base from time to time.
There are many actions you can take to protect a loved one from financial abuse, the most important is staying well informed and being aware.
Consumer Reports – a respected authority on this subject— recently published a short list of warning signs:
- Bank statements no longer coming to the elderly person’s home
- Changes in a power of attorney or will
- Changes in attorneys or banks
- Changes in beneficiaries
- Lack of personal amenities
- Large or unexplained bank transfers or withdrawals
- Missing property
- New authorized signers on the elderly person’s accounts
- Unfamiliar signatures on important documents
First County Bank takes this matter seriously. Go to the Your Privacy and Security section of our website for some helpful tips. We communicate with our customers on an ongoing basis about the topic of fraud and how to prevent it and invite anyone who is concerned to stop in any of our branches for more information. And, don’t forget, the best prevention strategy is to stay aware by checking in with your seniors as often as possible.