• Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc.
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  • Washington Trust Annual Meeting
    Solid 2008 Performance Despite Difficult Economy 
    Company Release - 04/28/2009 15:14

    WESTERLY, R.I.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq Global Select: WASH), parent of The Washington Trust Company, today held its Annual Meeting of Shareholders for the year ended December 31, 2008. Approximately 150 shareholders and guests attended the Meeting at the Granite Theatre.

    Washington Trust Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John C. Warren stated, "Despite all of the turmoil in 2008, including a national recession, a federal banking crisis, and a precipitous decline in the financial markets, Washington Trust had a very solid year." Warren added, "Washington Trust survived all of this turmoil and market unrest by following the same guiding principles that have driven our company for more than 200 years: trustworthiness, commitment to excellence, sound judgment, and a willingness to help."

    David V. Devault, executive vice president, secretary, and chief financial officer, added, "We achieved some excellent core business growth in 2008: commercial loans rose by 29% and we added $86 million in in-market deposits." He also provided an overview on earnings for the first quarter ended March 31, 2009. Devault stated, "First quarter earnings were negatively affected by continued weakness in the economy; however, we are well-capitalized and had good core business growth during the quarter."

    Commenting on 2009, Warren stated that 2009 is going to be another challenging year. Noting, "We should continue to see good growth along core business lines, as we continue to benefit from disruption at the larger banks. However, earnings will be squeezed by tight margins, increases in FDIC fees, and other aspects of the economy, such as credit deterioration, further market declines, and increased government regulation." Warren mentioned the Bank's plans to add a second branch in the Governor Francis section of Warwick, RI in late 2009, subject to approval of state and federal regulators.

    During the business portion of the Meeting, Steven J. Crandall, Victor J. Orsinger II, Esq., Patrick J. Shanahan, Jr., and Neil H. Thorp were elected to the Corporation's Board of Directors for terms ending in 2012. Larry J. Hirsch, Esq., retired from the board and was recognized for his contributions and 15 years of dedicated service to Washington Trust. In other business, shareholders ratified the selection of KPMG LLP as independent auditors for the Corporation for the current fiscal year ending December 31, 2009. And, shareholders approved an amendment and restatement of the Corporation's 2003 Stock Incentive Plan."

    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 parent of The Washington Trust Company, a Rhode Island state-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 Global Select(R) under the symbol WASH. Investor information is available on the Corporation's web site: www.washtrust.com.

    This press release 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. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, including statements regarding our strategy, effectiveness of investment programs, evaluations of future interest rate trends and liquidity, expectations as to growth in assets, deposits and results of operations, success of acquisitions, future operations, market position, financial position, and prospects, plans, goals and objectives of management are forward-looking statements. The actual results, performance or achievements of the Corporation could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of, among other factors, changes in general national or regional economic conditions, reductions in net interest income resulting from interest rate volatility as well as changes in the balance and mix of loans and deposits, reductions in the market value of wealth management assets under administration, reductions in loan demand, changes in loan collectibility, 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. In addition, the factors described under "Risk Factors" in Item 1A of our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2007, as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, may result in these differences. You should carefully review all of these factors, and you should be aware that there may be other factors that could cause these differences. 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.

        Source: Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc.

    Contact: Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc. Elizabeth B. Eckel, 401-348-1309 Senior Vice President, Marketing ebeckel@washtrust.com