• Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc.
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  • Washington Trust Annual Meeting Highlights Record Earnings and Market Expansion
    Company Release - 04/29/2003 12:00

    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 potential growth.

    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: www.washtrust.com.

    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
                 ebeckel@washtrust.com
    
        SOURCE: Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc.