• Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc.
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  • Washington Trust Annual Meeting Highlights Exceptional 2005 Performance; First Quarter 2006 Results; Expansion in Greater Providence Area
    Company Release - 04/25/2006 12:00

    WESTERLY, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 25, 2006--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, 2005. Approximately 200 shareholders and guests attended the Meeting at the Westerly Public Library.

    "Washington Trust had an exceptional year in 2005," stated John C. Warren, Washington Trust's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He added, "All of our major lines of business performed well. Total loans rose by 12 percent, including a 9 percent increase in commercial loans and a 16 percent increase in consumer loans. We also had good deposit growth, considering the extremely competitive environment, with total deposits up 12 percent in 2005. In addition, our wealth management area experienced significant gains with an increase in revenues of 26 percent from 2004, in large part reflective of our Weston Financial Group acquisition."

    David V. Devault, Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer, discussed the Corporation's 2005 financial results and first quarter 2006 performance. He stated, "First quarter 2006 net income amounted to $6.1 million, a 12% increase from the same quarter in 2005. Earnings per share, on a diluted basis, amounted to 44 cents per share." Devault added, "We increased the dividend for the fourteenth consecutive year and continued to maintain excellent asset quality."

    At the Meeting, Warren also commented on the acquisition of Weston Financial Group in August 2005. "In order to continue to grow the Corporation and maintain solid earnings growth, Washington Trust has made several strategic acquisitions over the past 7 years, including: Pier Bank, Inc. in 1999; Phoenix Investment Management in 2000; First Financial Corp. in 2002; and most recently Weston Financial in 2005." Adding, "This acquisition significantly increased our assets under management and enhanced our line of wealth management services."

    Warren also spoke of the Bank's recent plans to open two new branches in central Rhode Island. A new Cranston branch, to be located at 1195 Oaklawn Avenue, is expected to open in the first quarter of 2007. Warren also noted that the Bank plans to open a new branch in Warwick in 2007. The opening of these branches will bring the Bank's total number of branches to 18. Warren commented, "These branches will increase the Bank's footprint in the Greater Providence area. Washington Trust is focused on expanding in these markets and we feel the new branches will complement our existing branches in Cranston and Warwick." The opening of these branches is subject to regulatory approvals.

    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 2009. In other business, shareholders ratified the selection of KPMG LLP as independent auditors for the Corporation for the current fiscal year ending December 31, 2006.

    The audio and slides of the Annual Meeting are available on Washington Trust's website, http://www.washtrust.com, by selecting the Investor Relations section and then clicking on Presentations.

    Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc. is the publicly-owned holding company of The Washington Trust Company, a Rhode Island-chartered bank founded in 1800. Washington Trust offers personal banking, business banking and wealth management services, through its offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts 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 actual results, performance or achievements of the Corporation 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 wealth management and trust assets under administration, reductions in loan demand, reductions in deposit levels necessitating increased borrowing to fund loans and investments, changes in loan default and charge-off rates, changes in the size and nature of the Corporation's competition, changes in legislation or regulation and accounting principles, policies and guidelines, and changes in the assumptions used in making such forward-looking statements. The Corporation assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements or update the reasons actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those provided in the forward-looking statements, except as required by law.

    
        CONTACT: Washington TrustElizabeth B. Eckel, 401-348-1309
                 Senior Vice President, Marketing
                 ebeckel@washtrust.com
    
        SOURCE: Washington Trust