First County Bank promotes two senior executives
First County Bank's board of directors has announced Reyno "Rey" A. Giallongo Jr., president and chief operating officer, has been promoted to chairman and chief executive officer of the 160-year-old bank. He replaces Thomas L. Bartram, who retires today after 30 years of service to the bank. Bartram will continue as a non-executive board member. Katherine A. Harris, executive vice president at First County Bank, was named president and chief operating officer of the bank by the board of directors. She will replace Giallongo.
"Rey's extensive financial experience coupled with his strong ties to the Fairfield County community will serve the bank well in its efforts to expand its reach and presence around the county," said Bartram, 62, during a retirement speech given at the Italian Center. "Under Rey's leadership, First County Bank will leverage its platform of best-in-class banking operations, marketing, technology, training and finance to provide a truly unique and unparalleled service to our customers."
"Ronald Reagan once said, `Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere as long as the policy you've decided upon is being carried out.' It's a philosophy I agree with and follow regularly," said Giallongo. "You're only as good as the people around you, and the First County Bank team is made up of some of the brightest banking people I've ever met.
"I look forward to leading this team to bigger and better challenges ahead, and am very grateful to the board for its confidence in me to take over the reins from Tom, who plans to spend well-deserved time golfing, traveling and enjoying life with his family," Giallongo said.
As chairman and CEO, Giallongo will direct, plan and coordinator all activities of the bank. He will provide guidance to the board of directors and senior management in defining and establishing the bank's mission, strategic plans and direction, as well as conceiving and initiating objectives and policies to ensure the bank's sound condition and growth.
Prior to joining First County Bank in 2002, Giallongo spent 25 years at Wachovia Bank and its predecessors, most recently as chief operating officer of risk management in the Northeast, based in Stamford.
Giallongo is a member of the board of commissioners of the Stamford Downtown Special Services District, and serves as a board member of the Housing Development Fund. He is president of United Way of Western Connecticut, president of Fairfield Bankers Association and serves as a trustee of the YMCA of Stamford. Giallongo also is a member of the board of directors of The Business Council of Fairfield County and The F.A. Bartlett Tree Expert Co., headquartered in Stamford, and he volunteers at Puppies Behind Bars, a New York-based nonprofit.
Katherine A. Harris, executive vice president at First County Bank, was named president and chief operating officer of the bank by the board of directors.
As president and chief operating officer, Harris will direct, control and coordinate the bank's daily operations to ensure goals and objectives are met.
Through division/department heads, Harris' responsibilities include retail and small business banking, loan and deposit operations, compliance/risk management, marketing, human resources and the First County Bank Foundation. She will participate in short- and long-term planning; ensure compliance with all applicable regulations; and participate in establishing overall direction and mission of the bank.
"We're really proud to have Kathy Harris as our president and chief operating officer of First County," Giallongo said. "Kathy is a bank veteran who has been with the bank for 26 years. She helped form the First County Bank Foundation with Richard Taber in 2001 and under her tutelage the bank grew from six to 15 branches."
Harris brought a new service culture to First County when she joined in 1985 and cultivated a strong customer service training program and evaluation process.
"Kathy was instrumental in driving growth at the bank," Giallongo said. "When she joined the bank, First County had 125 employees and $365 million in assets. Today, we have more than 200 employees and $1.3 billion in assets and growing."
Harris joined First County Bank as an assistant vice president and branch manager. Her responsibilities steadily increased through the years until she became senior vice president retail banking in 1998, a position she held until June 2010, when she was promoted to executive vice president. As head of the retail banking division, Harris managed all 15 branches, including more than 150 employees. She also was responsible for consumer lending, marketing and sales, call center services, employee training and the foundation.
From 1991 to 1998, Harris was a vice president and branch administrator, and from 1990 to 1991, she held the title of assistant vice president, regional manager. From 1975 to 1985, Harris was a branch manager and consumer loan specialist with Sheridan Bank in Peoria, Ill.
"I have worked most of my professional career at First County Bank, and this promotion means a lot to me," said Harris, a Sandy Hook. resident. "I will use this experience to take First County Bank to its next level as one of the region's leading community banks. I thank the board of directors and all of the people I have worked with over the years. It's because of their hard work and commitment to First County Bank that I owe this appointment."
Harris is a member of the Management Development Committee for America's Community Bankers Connecticut School of Finance and Management. She is a board member of Junior Achievement of Southwest Connecticut and the Stamford Partnership. She volunteers at the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, an organization that works with high school students who want to launch their own business after graduation.
Harris earned a master's degree in counseling and human resource development, and earned a bachelor's degree in business from the University of Bridgeport. Prior to the University of Bridgeport, Harris studied business at Illinois Central College. She did additional studies at America's Community Bankers' National School of Banking at Fairfield University and at the Connecticut School of Finance and Management.
First County Bank, headquartered in Stamford, is an independent mutual community bank with 15 branches in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Norwalk and Westport offering deposit products, mortgages, trust and investment services, business banking services and online banking. First County Bank, which celebrates its 160th anniversary this year, has more than 215 employees and assets in excess of $1.3 billion.
For more information, visit www.firstcountybank.com.