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  • Washington Trust: Helping Customers Reach Their Financial Goals and Serving Local Communities

    Washington Trust: Helping Customers Reach Their Financial Goals and Serving Local Communities

     

    Chamber President Laurie White spoke with Ned Handy, chairman & CEO of Washington Trust and Mark Gim, president & COO about the many ways the bank is here to help during uncertain times.

    The conversation focused on ways the bank is supporting people and businesses, delivering on the institution's mission, working cohesively as a team when socially distanced and strengthening local communities.

    Founded in 1800, Washington Trust is the oldest community bank in the nation, the largest state-chartered bank headquartered in Rhode Island, and one of the Northeast’s premier financial services companies. Washington Trust's original charter states the bank was established to provide, “those little assistances, from time to time, which banks only can give.”  It still holds true today.

    "We really believe that, while technology is critical and necessary, it is the extent to which you can enable human connections and put your employees in a place to be able to have those, that is what has always made the difference for us, and will continue to make the difference," Handy said.

    "Really looking at your long-term financial future may seem like a luxury in today's environment, but we do think that by helping businesses and bank customers plan ahead, we may be able to give them enough information to help put themselves in a better position for two, three, five years as opposed to just two, three, five months," said Gim.

    "That's kind of the heart, I think, of what Washington Trust's value is to its customers. We certainly provide all the financial products and services, but we try to do it in a way that looks more holistically at what your goals are beyond just the short term," Gim continued. 

    Key Points

    - Handy says new branch set to open sometime in April in East Greenwich. The bank will continue to invest in Rhode Island.

    - Commenting on the current environment, Gim says it has been a surprisingly robust environment for stocks and has caused investors and customers to re-evaluate their time horizons and risk tolerance.

    - Gim tells Laurie White that underwriting standards have tightened a bit from a business point of view due to the uncertainty for the future. 

    - Handy says Washington Trust ramped up their technology services and platforms before COVID hit. These upgrades and improvements enhanced security and served the bank well.

    - Best advice for customers: Think for the long term, and be aware of state and federal borrowing options during these times of historically low interest rates.
     
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