First County Bank Profile, Trends & Tips

Business Banking with Sara Tucker

senior vice president, director of business banking

Sara Tucker

Meet Sara Tucker, Senior Vice President, Director Business Banking.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I came to First County Bank two years ago with over twenty-five years of experience in the commercial banking world. Much of my prior experience consisted of a mix of community banks and larger institutions. I was eager to start at First County Bank as I enjoy working in a community setting, helping small and medium-sized businesses find customized solutions to achieve their goals.

What financial solutions do we offer for small businesses?
Our Business Banking Department offers a variety of financial solutions for small businesses, from cash management services to cost-effective business checking accounts. We work diligently to create customized solutions for our clients to help them achieve their goals, typically centered on growth and expansion of their business.

Our latest financial solution is our BusinessFirst Express Loan. This fintech financial solution, offers streamlined financing options for businesses that are in need of quick access to funds. The BusinessFirst Express loan is available for loans or lines of credit up to $100,000, with funds available as soon as 7 business days after the application is completed.

How do these solutions benefit small businesses?
We are leveraging technology to create a better banking experience for our customers. The BusinessFirst Express Loan helps provide a quick access to capital, while Cash Management services such as Positive Pay defends transactions against check or ACH fraud.

We are dedicated to providing our customers with the resources to meet their goals – whether that is through customized solutions or listening to our customers and developing products to meet their specific needs, like the BusinessFirst Express Loan.

What success story can you share of how a business has benefited from these services?
A local nonprofit had expansion plans; however, they were struggling to find a flexible line of credit option. After meeting with members of our team, we worked with them to provide a flexible solution with customized pricing to fit their specific needs.

Not only were we able to provide them with a financial solution, we were able to provide them with a competitive suite of cash management services that would help sustain and improve their daily cash flow operations.

 

First County Bank Profile, Small Business Profile

Small Businesses Benefit from Cash Management: Meet Mario Maiorana

Maiorana, Mario

Mario Maiorana

Meet Mario Maiorana, Sales & Service Representative, Cash Management Services Department.

Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Mario Maiorana and I am a Sales and Service Representatives in the Cash Management Services Department at First County Bank, located at 117 Prospect Street, Stamford.

My 11 years of experience with the Bank, enable me to understand our clients’ needs and recommend products and services that are best fitted for each client. The most important motivating factor for me is our customer’s success.

What is Cash Management?
Cash Management stands for solution-oriented products and services that meet our client’s needs of managing daily business processes, while maximizing cash flow and productivity.

Our Cash Management team strongly believes in the effectiveness and value of our products and you can always count on a personal, prompt and high level of service.

How do Cash Management products benefit small businesses?
Our products are designed to effectively accommodate small businesses by providing essential services such as: Merchant Services (Credit Card processing), Payroll Services, Business Credit Cards with various money saving options, Remote Deposit Capture, QuickBooks (Direct Connect),  ACH and Wire origination and Positive Pay, our fraud monitoring system.

In addition, we work closely with other departments across the Bank to deliver lending and investment solutions to aid our clients in successfully developing or expanding their business.

What is the most sought after CM product for small businesses?
Positive Pay seems to be the most sought after product Cash Management service.  Positive Pay is an anti-fraud tool that adds an additional level of security to a business checking account, to defend against check and ACH fraud.  It is quite topical, considering the high risk for fraud in today’s web-connected world.

Specific business types, such as attorneys with IOLTA accounts and non-profit organizations, are strongly recommended to have fraud protection by their auditors.  Others, particularly those who have experienced fraud in the past, are moving forward with setting up this service.

What success story can you share of how a business has benefited from Cash Management services?
A local, small law firm was referred to me. They wanted to be provided with additional information on our wire origination product.

The client was in the process of moving their business accounts to our Bank, and at the recommendation of our Stamford Office Branch Manager, I was able to have an open discussion about their previous banking experience and current service needs. Together we uncovered the tremendous value in two additional services that will help protect his business from fraud (Positive Pay), as well as an expedited payment system for vendors or clients (ACH origination).

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!

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.

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

First County Bank Profile

Get to Know Aitza Cabrera

Aitza Cabrera

Meet Aitza Cabrera, Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager of the Darien Branch, Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS# 773367.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’ve been with First County Bank for 15 years. I started at the Bank as a Teller and my career has grown to become a Branch Manager and Mortgage Loan Originator. I enjoy all aspects of my job whether it’s helping someone open their first banking account or getting them into their first home.

I was born and raised here in Stamford, which is where I currently reside with my husband and three boys. I enjoy spending time with my family, being outdoors, and attending their sporting events. In my free time, I also enjoy doing volunteer work at Person-2-Person, and my boys like to volunteer with me as well.

What is your favorite part of your role at First County Bank?
My favorite part is interacting with customers during the mortgage application process. During this process I really get to know my customers, their goals, their dreams and their family. Through this I am able to answer their questions and provide them with the right solution to fit their specific wants and needs.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
There are few, but the number one question I get is: “How long have you been with First County Bank?” Most people don’t believe it’s been 15 years, which opens up a whole new conversation – which I love.

Other frequent questions are: “What are the current rates?” and “Can you help me?”

What advice would you give someone looking to buy or sell in 2017?
It’s okay to be nervous, and not have all the answers to the process. That’s what we are here for, to answer your questions and guide you through the process, whether it’s buying or selling your home.

First County Bank Profile

First County Profile: Hugo Ramirez

Hugo_Ramirez_FirstCountyBankMeet Hugo Ramirez, Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager of the Main Avenue Branch in Norwalk.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born, raised and currently live in Stamford. I have been in the banking industry for the past 17 years. I began working at First County Bank last summer and it’s been a great experience ever since. When I am not working, I love spending time with my son and family. My son and I play many different sports together – I love teaching him different tips and tricks. When I am not enjoying my family, I am enjoying time at my local gym, traveling, and rooting for the current NFL Superbowl Champion New England Patriots. I also like being involved in the community. In Norwalk, I am a member of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as well as the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce.

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

My favorite part of working at First County Bank is interacting with customers. I like to be involved with all customers, whether they are opening a basic savings account or applying for a business loan. I genuinely enjoy getting to know the various customers of First County Bank as well as adding value to their overall banking needs and experience.

Equally as enjoyable, is being able to work with a great team in my Branch. It’s a privilege to work with the individuals on my team. Every day I look forward to being able to coach and motivate my staff to be as successful as possible in their careers.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?

“When are deposit rates going up?”

Do you have a favorite First County Bank moment?

When First County Bank asked me to join!

 

First County Bank Profile

Get to Know Beth Brucker

022B2234Gray croppedMeet Beth Brucker, Mortgage Loan Originator.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I began my career in the mortgage industry in 2002. Since then, I have held a wide range of roles including processing, underwriting, origination, management and operations. These experiences helped me build an unwavering focus on customer service.

I’ve been a resident of Connecticut for over 35 years. I originally lived in Westport, but was forced to move after our home was damaged during Hurricane Sandy. I now live in North Wilton with my husband, dog and cat. I have remained involved in the Westport Community as a member of the Westport Rotary and recently served as a member of the Westport Shellfish Commission. After a long week, I look forward to evening cuddles with my cat Tutti and early morning runs with my dog Riley.

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

My favorite part of my role at First County Bank is a shared belief system – the idea of being someone a customer or client can trust while also providing the best service possible.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?

“What is the overall process?” and “What is the best loan program suited for me?” Those are the most frequently asked questions I hear.

What advice would you give someone looking to buy or sell in 2017?

Shop carefully and make sure that when receiving advice, it’s from someone you can trust.

 

First County Bank Profile, Lifestyle Trends & Tips

Get to Know Dave Zamary

David Zamary

David Zamary

Meet Dave Zamary, Senior Vice President, Residential Lending Manager.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I currently live in Milford, CT with my wife and dog Chance. I have been with First County Bank for over 30 years. In my tenure I have experience with all aspects of mortgage origination, specializing in residential purchase and refinance, lending, and construction permanent lending. When I am not helping homebuyers get into the home of their dreams, I am active in my local community as a Knights of Columbus member and volunteering at a local food pantry.

What is your favorite part of your role with First County Bank?
I enjoy helping home buyers get into their home. I especially enjoy helping first-time homebuyers as it is often such an exciting experience for them.

What is the most frequent question you receive from customers?
Top three questions are: How long I’ve been with the Bank? How old is the Bank? Is the Bank stock or mutual? Clients are often most pleased to hear that I have been with the Bank for over 30 years and that we are a mutual community bank.

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