#DigitalConnection: Bank on the Go with Mobile Banking

Want to get your banking done when it’s convenient for your busy lifestyle? Now you can with First County Bank Mobile Banking. It’s easy — just download the app and you’ll be ready to get started.

Using built-in features made for the iPhone® or Android™ such as fingerprint authentication, the First County Bank mobile app provides a secure and easy- to -use experience on your smart phone so you can check your balance, transfer money, pay bills, make loan payments, and even deposit checks – allowing for banking on your terms, wherever you are.

Stop by a branch or visit our website to learn more.  https://www.firstcountybank.com/

 


Toys for Tots Seeks Gifts for Children in Need

First County Bank is joining forces once again with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots program to collect holiday gifts for children in need in Stamford.

Toys for Tots needs the donations by Dec.19 so they can be distributed to the community organizations that hold holiday parties and distribute gifts to children.

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Organizer George Ducanic said donation boxes have been placed at more than 100 sites in the area, including First County Bank branches. Toys are needed for children ages 1-10 and community members are encouraged to pick up one or more toys for kids in need in our area. Gifts and should be new and unwrapped. To donate, stop by any of our Stamford branches.

The group needs close to 20,000 toys to fulfill the requests of all the social services and community agencies.

The mission of Toys for Tots is to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute them as holiday gifts to less fortunate children in the community. The primary mission of Toys for Tots, according to their website, “is to deliver a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.”

For more information, contact, Toys for Tots Coordinator George Ducanic at (203) 219-9025, or First County Bank Events Coordinator Anne Hardy  at (203) 462-4249.


Support Local Businesses on Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday is back!

Saturday, November 24, 2018 is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses across the country. By shopping at small businesses, the mom-and-pop stores that are staples in our community, you are doing your part to help them thrive.

In 2010, American Express launched the first Small Business Saturday, encouraging shoppers nationwide to support local commerce. Since then, billions of dollars are spent on this Saturday at small and local businesses by tens of millions of people. We encourage you to do the same! Don’t do all your shopping at big retailers today, plan to spend some time shopping local. For every $100 spent at local merchants, $68 stays within the community, according to IndependentWeStand.org.

Small Business Saturday is one of the biggest day of sales for the 23 million small businesses in the U.S. who represent about 54 percent of all U.S . retail sales, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA). Spending money locally 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!  It’s a win win for all.

Wishing you all happy small business shopping day!


Black Friday Safe Shopping Tips

During the Thanksgiving holiday, many prepare for the madness of the following morning, Black Friday.

While debit cards are a popular form of payment they may not be the best choice. Credit cards have become one of, if not the safest way to pay for purchases. Using a credit card is safer than a debit card because it is not directly linked to a checking account and you can often dispute charges if something is wrong.

Here are a few situations on Black Friday where you may be better suited to use a credit card:

  • Online. Since the debit card links directly to a checking account, don't use a debit card online or for phone orders-- you are potentially vulnerabile.
  • Big-Ticket Items. With a big ticket item, a credit card is safer. A credit card offers dispute rights if something goes wrong with the merchandise or the purchase. With a debit card, you have fewer protections.  In addition, some credit cards will also offer extended warranties. And in some situations, such as buying electronics or renting a car, some credit cards also offer additional property insurance to cover the item.
  • If You're a New Customer. Online or in the real world, if you're a first-time customer in a store, skip the debit card the first couple of times you buy.  That way, you get a feel for how the business is run, how you're treated and the quality of the merchandise before you hand over a card that links to your checking account.
  • Buy Now, Take Delivery Later. Buying now but taking delivery days or weeks from now? A credit card offers dispute rights that a debit card typically does not.  But be aware that some cards will limit the protection to a specific time period. So settle any problems as soon as possible.

Here are some tips to help make your holiday shopping season safe and joyous:

  • Shop during the day when possible. If you have to shop at night, bring along a friend and park in well-lighted areas.
  • Avoid parking next to vans, trailers, and other vehicles with tinted windows.
  • Never leave valuable items in your car where they are visible to thieves.
  • If you carry a purse or backpack, guard it carefully. Never leave it on the roof of your car while you’re attempting to open or lock your car.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. It’s easy to get distracted by the bright lights and shopping specials, but it’s important to be vigilant about any hidden dangers.
  • Locate your keys before you get to your car.
  • Try not to carry large sums of cash on you.
  • Be suspicious of any strangers that may approach you, particularly in parking garages and parking lots.
  • Keep a record of all your credit card numbers at home in case your cards get lost or stolen.
  • Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, proceed with caution.

For more fraud protection or security tips, click here.


A Thanksgiving Message

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection—a time to spend gathered with family and friends and to count our blessings and express our gratitude. Maybe you are in a good season and thriving with health and wealth? Take this opportunity to give to those in need. Know that the holiday season can be tough for some who have lost loved ones and for those who are struggling with health or financial issues. It truly is better to give than receive. Your kindness may even cause a chain reaction.

“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same.” – Rachel Joy Scott

We are grateful for our wonderful, giving team of bank employees who help out in our community whenever they can. Together, we work to spread kindness and make someone’s day brighter. We were able to raise funds by volunteering at various events, collecting donations for nonprofits, our quarterly “Jeans Day for a Cause” donations, collecting food for the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County and much more.

As we reflect on the year, we are thankful for many blessings-- most importantly, our family and friends, customers, awesome employees, executives and corporators of First County Bank and their families, and our community partners and nonprofit organizations that give tirelessly. We want to wish you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving and we hope that your day will be filled with joy.


Stamford Downtown Balloon Parade was a Big Success

After two years of inclement weather, Sunday brought us great “flying” weather.

Paddington Bear took to the streets of downtown Stamford with 36 balloon handlers and more banner holders. Our volunteers, and for many this was their first balloon parade, marched and spun their way down Summer Street and Atlantic Street in front of big crowds. Marchers waved teal spin signs (2,500 were given out by our street teams) and followed the wild cheers of “spin, spin”.  A big thank you goes out to our balloon handlers. They did an outstanding job helping Paddington wave to his many fans. Thank you to the families who came to support us as well. And special thanks to the Atlantic Branch and Prospect Street teams for their efforts.

Take a look at some of our volunteers in action.


First County Bank & Palmer’s Market Donate Turkeys to The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County

In the spirit of giving this holiday season, First County Bank teamed up with Palmer’s Market to donate 100 turkeys, a $1,500 donation, to the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County.

Weighing in at over 1,200 pounds, these turkeys will feed dozens of families in need in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stamford, and Wilton. The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County provides food to about 80 nonprofit agencies and programs that serve low income residents in their six-town service area through bags of groceries and congregate meals. The centers they serve include soup kitchens, food pantries, child care programs, homeless shelters, senior centers, domestic violence safe houses, and rehabilitation programs.

Pictured: First County Bank employees with Palmer’s Market donate turkeys to the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County, Inc. with Aitza Cabrera, Darien branch manager, Greg Palmer, owner of Palmer’s Market, and Mark Rosenbloom, vice president, Cash Management Services.

 


#DigitalConnection: Go Cardless with Apple Pay® and Samsung Pay®

Have you ever forgotten your First County Bank debit or credit card at home? First County Bank now offers alternative payment methods with the Mobile Wallet feature. Customers no longer need to present their debit or credit card at checkout when they use the Apple Pay® or Samsung Pay® app.

Customers can convert their First County Bank debit or credit card into a digital version through these Mobile Wallets. Simply download the Apple Pay® or Samsung Pay® app, enter your First County Bank Card information, complete the enrollment process, and start paying from your mobile device. Transactions can be carried out using the digital version of your card via mobile device, eliminating the need to always carry a physical card.

Mobile Wallets ensure the protection of customers by using a encryption system, keeping card information private from merchants. First County Bank’s Mobile Payment Solutions offer a secure and useful alternative to paying with a physical card whether in store or online. During enrollment, see our Digital Wallet Services disclosures for terms, conditions, and further details.

 


First County Advisors, the Wealth Management Division of First County Bank, Hosts Linda Duessel from Federated Investors

On October 25, First County Bank Advisors, the Wealth Management Division of First County Bank hosted a very special guest, Linda Duessel, CFA, CPA, CFP, Senior Equity Strategist, Senior Vice President with Federated Investors, Inc.

Ms. Duessel’s presentation, “Economic and Market Outlook: It All Depends On Your Time Horizon” was well-received by an audience of approximately 120 people at Innes Arden Country Club in Greenwich.

Guests heard Linda share insights on timely market trends and topics about the economic impact of global affairs, the impact of mid-term elections, the closer watch on inflation as well as demographic changes and the impact of millennials.

Following her presentation there was an interactive Q&A with our guests.

 


Cyber Security Month

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and we're sharing some tips with you to be sure you stay safe this holiday season while shopping online or at your local brick and mortar stores.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is commemorating its 15th year initiative to raise awareness about the importance of cyber security. The  collaborative effort between government and industry professionals is to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online, and help reduce occurrences of cyber-threats.

The National Cyber Security Alliance is emphasizing four key messages this month which are as follows:

  • Cyber security is our shared responsibility and we all must work together to improve our nation’s cyber security.
  • Strengthen the nation’s cyber security ecosystem.
  • Tackle it together: Cyber security is a cross-cutting, cross-sector problem, so we have got to tackle it together.
  • Build up the cyber security workforce across all sectors and secure critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

Here at First County Bank, we encourage you to protect your accounts while shopping on your cell phone. Mobile technology is changing the way we think of our wallet. Along with using your physical debit or credit card you may now also access your accounts with your mobile device - often referred to as a “Digital Wallet.” Digital Wallets may be used to conveniently pay for goods and services; manage your payments and accounts; receive offers from merchants you know and trust; track and spend reward or loyalty points; store digital receipts and warranty information; and get alerts about your account and spending.

Similar to the way you protect your physical wallet it is important to protect your digital wallet. Here are a few tips to help make sure your Digital Wallet is as secure as it is convenient.

  • Keep Your Login Credentials Secure: Easy access to usernames and passwords leads to misuse.
  • Use Device Security Features: Set devices to require a password before they can be used.
  • Use a Unique Password for Your Digital Wallet: Use a strong password and don’t use
    the same password you use for email or social networking sites.
  • Keep Your Device Updated: Hardware and software manufacturers release frequent updates
    to optimize performance and security.
  • Use Security Software: Activate anti-virus and anti-malware software.
  • Use the Right App: Only install apps from the appropriate trusted app store.
  • Connect to Secure Networks: Secure network connections usually require passwords and
    are identified as “WPA or WPA2.” Unsecure networks are available to the public and may be
    labeled as a “WEP” connection.
  • Monitor Your Accounts: First County Bank mobile banking allows you to set up account
    alerts.
  • Keep Your Private Stuff Private: Don’t share sensitive data. First County Bank will never
    ask for private information such as passwords or account numbers.
  • Don't click on Random Links: Avoid links received via text even when you think you know
    the sender.
  • Remove Compromised Cards: If your physical card is lost or stolen remove it from your
    digital wallet.

Contact First County Bank immediately if your mobile device is lost or stolen, an individual card stored in your Digital Wallet is lost or stolen, or if you suspect that your account has been compromised. If you have any questions please call our CustomerFirst Contact Center at (203) 462-4400 (Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).

For more information on how to stay safe, please visit the e-fraud section of our website. https://www.firstcountybank.com/efraud-protection


Did You Know? A ValueAccess Checking Account with BaZing Provides Travel Accidental Death Insurance

Did you know that a ValueAccess Checking Account with BaZing** provides Travel Accidental Death Insurance* for when the unexpected happens?

Life insurance can help secure the financial future of your loved ones, help with funeral costs and pay off any outstanding debts you may have. Insurance can seem complicated and overwhelming, but we are here to be sure you know that we can help with all of your financial needs, including protecting your family from the unexpected. If you’re a parent, life insurance can help to pay for tuition and other educational expenses for your child.

*Insurance products are not FDIC insured; not insured by any government agency, not a deposit or other obligation of First County Bank, and not guaranteed by First County Bank. See checking account disclosures*** for details.

**Fees, terms and conditions apply.


First County Team Commits to #BeTheChange at ‘MarcUS for Change’ 5K

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
-- Mahatma Gandhi

This month, a team of our dedicated employees joined hundreds in committing to "Be the change" at the "MarcUS for Change" 5K road race in Stamford. The mission of MarcUS for Change is to "improve the academic, social, and mental well being of at-risk middle school and high school children," according to their website, by coordinating local and national opportunities for mentoring, academic support, extracurricular activities, and social development.

The charity was founded in honor of an at-risk student, Marcus Dixon McInerney,  who escaped a life of violence and truancy thanks to the help of a local family offering him a stable home and guidance. His life was cut short in a tragic accident in 2012. "MarcUS for Change" inspires the community to be the change kids need, especially during middle and high school.

First County Bank employees Stella Amortegui, Oscar Carrillo, and Aziza Moustaine joined for team leader Shaun Intriago for the first time. Shaun has participated in the event since its beginning, six years ago. Patryzja Carrillo, Oscar's wife, and Gabriel, Stella's son, also joined in the fun.

"MarcUS for change is important because it supports youth mentorships but also celebrates the life of Marcus McInerney Dixon and Marcus Hall," Shaun said. "Hundreds of participants came out to the event which featured a parade, an international dance festival, and dozens of children's activities."

Proceeds from the race went to support the Stamford Public Education Foundation, Stamford High School, the Mayor's Youth Employment program, the Stamford Youth Foundation football and cheerleading programs, Kids Helping Kids, RF Boxing's "Stand Up for Youth" 5K, the Rachel Sottosanti Foundation for Mental Health, the Abilis Foundation, and the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford.

For more information, visit the MarcUS for Change website: http://www.marcusforchange.org/

Pictured left to right: Patryzja Carrillo, Gabriel Amortegui, Stella Amortegui, Oscar Carrillo, Aziza Moustaine, Shaun Intriago