WESTERLY, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 29, 2003--Washington Trust
Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq: WASH), parent of The Washington Trust Company,
today held its Annual Meeting of Shareholders for the year ended
December 31, 2002. Approximately 200 shareholders and guests attended
the Meeting at the Westerly Public Library.
"In 2002, Washington Trust embraced new opportunities and met the
challenges of a unique year," stated John C. Warren, Washington Trust
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He explained that 2002 was a
year in which, "Interest rates were at 40-year lows, the unstable
geopolitical climate depressed both the economy and the financial
markets, and the corporate world was in turmoil." Warren added that it
was also a year in which Washington Trust achieved record earnings,
the highest in the Corporation's history; increased the dividend for
the tenth consecutive year; reached $1 billion in total deposits for
the first time in the company's history; and experienced record
mortgage volume, doubling projections made earlier in the year.
Warren noted that Washington Trust's 2002 acquisition of First
Financial Corp., parent of First Bank and Trust, was one of the keys
to the Corporation's 2002 success. He stated, "The acquisition
significantly expanded Washington Trust's Rhode Island market area,
adding five thousand new customers to the Bank and adding important
new customers to our business banking portfolio." He stated that total
deposit and loan growth was attributable, in part, to the First Bank
acquisition, as well as the Bank's presence and successful marketing
promotions in the new market areas.
David V. Devault, Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief
Financial Officer, discussed the Corporation's 2002 financial results
and first quarter 2003 performance. He stated, "First quarter 2003 net
income amounted to $4.7 million, up 26.9 percent over net income
reported for the first quarter of 2002." He indicated that the
increase was partly due to the acquisition of First Financial Corp.
Devault added, "Earnings per share, on a diluted basis, increased 16%
over the amount earned in the same period in 2002." He added, "We
increased the dividend for the eleventh consecutive year and we
continued to maintain strong asset quality."
Warren closed the Annual Meeting with a full color photo of the
Bank's new two-story, 7,400 square foot Warwick branch, opened last
week on Route 117. He stated, "Of all the initiatives Washington Trust
is taking in 2003, the most visible is our entrance into the Warwick
market." He noted that the Bank's presence in the Warwick, Cranston
and Providence markets offers very exciting opportunities for
During the business portion of the Meeting, Steven J. Crandall,
Victor J. Orsinger, II, Patrick J. Shanahan, Jr., James P. Sullivan,
and Neil H. Thorp, were elected to the Corporation's Board of
Directors for terms ending in 2006.
In other business, shareholders approved the adoption of the
Corporation's 2003 Stock Incentive Plan and ratified the selection of
KPMG LLP as independent auditors for the Corporation for the current
fiscal year ending December 31, 2003.
At the beginning of the Meeting, Alcino G. Almeida and Richard A.
Grills received special recognition upon their retirement from the
Corporation's Board of Directors.
Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc. is the parent of The Washington
Trust Company, a Rhode Island state-chartered bank founded in 1800.
The Bank offers a full range of financial services, including trust
and investment management, through its offices in Rhode Island and
southeastern Connecticut. Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc.'s common
stock trades on The Nasdaq Stock Market(R) under the symbol WASH.
Investor information is available on the Corporation's web site:
This report contains certain statements that may be considered
"forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the
Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The Corporation's actual results,
performance or achievements could differ materially from those
projected in the forward-looking statements as a result, among other
factors, of changes in general national or regional economic
conditions, changes in interest rates, reductions in the market value
of trust and investment assets under management, reductions in deposit
levels necessitating increased borrowing to fund loans and
investments, changes in the size and nature of the Corporation's
competition, changes in loan default and charge-off rates and changes
in the assumptions used in making such forward-looking statements.
CONTACT: Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc.
Elizabeth B. Eckel, 401/348-1309
SOURCE: Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc.