First-quarter Washington Trust profits dip

Westerly — Washington Trust Bancorp Inc. saw its profits dip slightly in the first quarter compared with results in the last three months of 2013.

The parent company of The Washington Trust Company announced today first-quarter profits of $9.3 million, the equivalent of 55 cents a share. This compares with a profit of $9.8 million - 58 cents a share - in the fourth quarter of last year.

“Washington Trust posted another quarter of solid earnings,” Joseph J. MarcAurele, Washington Trust’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. “We continue to build relationships in key market areas and are excited about entering a new market with the opening of our new branch in Johnston (R.I.) next month.”

The bank noted that the divestiture of its merchant processing services business resulted in an after-tax profit of $4 million - 24 cents a share. It also paid off early $99.3 million in federal funding advances, resulting in an after-tax penalty that matched gains from the divestiture.

The company in March declared a quarterly dividend of 29 cents a share, 2 cents higher than it previously had paid and the third straight quarterly increase.

Other highlights of Washington Trust’s latest financial release include:

• Troubled assets declined by $5.5 million and past-due loans declined by $3.9 million last quarter, compared with the final three months of last year.

• Total interest income reached $23.8 million in the first quarter, slightly above the $23.5 million seen in the fourth quarter.

• Lower levels of mortgage loan activity cut into sales and commissions on loans originated by others, reducing income in that category by $312,000, or 20 percent. Overall residential loans sold on the secondary market fell by $8.9 million between the fourth and first quarters.

• Total charge-offs for loan losses amounted to $1.1 million in the first quarter, including an $853,000 loss tied to one commercial mortgage. Charge-offs in the previous quarter totaled $522,000.

l.howard@theday.com

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