Updated July 30 at 9:30pm

WashTrust has 2Q gains, but they’re harder to reach

By Rhonda J. Miller
PBN Staff Writer

The Washington Trust Co.’s growth mode appears to have downshifted a couple of gears as a result of increased competition and difficulties imposed by the state and national economy, even as the Westerly-based bank continued to report areas of improvement for the 2013 second quarter.

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BANKING

WashTrust has 2Q gains, but they’re harder to reach

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The Washington Trust Co.’s growth mode appears to have downshifted a couple of gears as a result of increased competition and difficulties imposed by the state and national economy, even as the Westerly-based bank continued to report areas of improvement for the 2013 second quarter.

“Our management team understands the economic, regulatory and competitive pressures our industry faces and is meeting these challenges head-on,” Washington Trust Chairman, President and CEO Joseph J. Marc- Aurele said in a telephone conference to review second quarter 2013 earnings with financial industry analysts and media last week.

“What’s important to note is that our loan portfolio has grown steadily for 10 consecutive quarters, which is an accomplishment, considering the continued weakness in our local economy,” said MarcAurele.

The review of the bank’s second quarter of 2013 more than once balanced cautious optimism with some current and potential concerns.

“Washington Trust had another good quarter. However, we realize future results could be impacted by environmental challenges, including a slower than predicted economic recovery, renewed competitive pressures or sharp interest rate increases,” said MarcAurele.

The bank has not reached the limits of its growth cycle, MarcAurele told Providence Business News in a phone interview after the recap with the analysts.

“If you think about the market we primarily operate in, in Rhode Island, this market is really dominated by two large banks – Citizens and Bank of America. We’re third,” MarcAurele said. “They have almost, by most measures, 60-plus percent of the deposit market share. We have about 5, 6 or 7 percent.”

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