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eNews

January eNews

Save Money on Advertising in 2012

Because we’re a Rhode Island business too! Founded in 1800, Washington Trust is the largest independent bank in Rhode Island, so we understand what it takes to build a successful business here in the Ocean State. We’d like to help your company grow and succeed in 2012 by partnering with you in our “IRI” campaign which offers many FREE ways to promote your business.  Sign up today!

Reach Thousands of Potential Customers!

Washington Trust invites you to be a part of our “IRI” campaign, which includes Washington Trust’s exclusive “IRI” website, www.iluvri.com. You will have opportunities to:

  • Highlight your business in virtual “Business Spotlights” with photos & details about your business and links to your company’s website - FREE
  • Offer coupons & special offers from your business - FREE 
  • Post events on our Community Calendar - FREE
  • Network with more than 8,000 local RI consumers - FREE 
  • And much more!
Our “IRIwebsite will be advertised to thousands of Washington Trust customers in our branches, through our monthly eNewsletter, and at all of Washington Trust’s signature “IRI” events throughout the state. It’s the perfect vehicle to tell thousands of potential customers about your business and best of all it’s FREE to all Washington Trust business customers!

How Do I Sign Up?

Simply click here to fill out a form and submit it to the marketing department. If you have any questions or need more information about Washington Trust’s “IRI” campaign, please call Christy Birchell in our Marketing Department at 401-348-1334.

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Economic Outlook 2012
By: Mary McGoldrick, Senior Vice President & Director of Investments

We anticipate continued moderate expansion during the New Year, with GDP growth registering around the 2% mark. Looking back at 2011, the pace of U.S. economic growth slowly and steadily accelerated despite a series of unforeseen events, including higher commodity prices, natural disasters, supply chain disruptions, debt limit gridlock and the Euro sovereign debt crisis.

Consumer spending will continue to drive the economy in 2012. Retail sales were solid in the latter part of 2011, however they were accompanied by a decline in the savings rate. Clearly this is not a sustainable trend. Going forward, we are looking for more robust employment growth to boost household income and buying power. The unemployment rate is still high at 8.5%, but initial claims for unemployment insurance are at the lowest level since June 2008, suggesting that the jobless rate will trend lower in 2012.

High unemployment and a supply "hangover" have taken their toll on the housing market. It appears that we are at or near the trough of the residential housing cycle. Affordability is at an historic high due to the combination of falling home prices and record low interest rates. Continuing improvement in consumer debt-to-income ratios and a better employment situation will allow more buyers to meet stricter mortgage underwriting guidelines.

Against this backdrop, interest rates are likely to remain at or near current low levels. The Federal Reserve has clearly stated its intent to maintain the current low target for the Federal Funds rate into 2013. In fact, the Fed could buy additional bonds for its own portfolio thereby providing additional support to the housing market.

The low rate interest rate environment has also benefited corporate America. Many firms have taken advantage of current borrowing levels to repay and/or refinance existing debt and improve profitability. This balance sheet improvement has allowed companies to undertake new capital spending projects, and spending on equipment and software has been growing at a double digit rate.

Positive developments in the U.S. have been overshadowed by deteriorating fundamentals in Europe. The risk of default by several members of the European Union has caused market disruption and volatility. To date, the policy response in Europe has been piecemeal and reactive. Investors lack confidence that European leaders will be able to garner support for the fiscal and monetary support needed to keep European debt markets liquid.

We are hopeful that European leaders will recognize the seriousness of the situation and support a comprehensive monetary solution that will offset the austerity programs being implemented in many nations. Meanwhile, weakness in Europe will be offset by faster economic growth in the emerging economies. China and India are forecasted to grow at an 8% clip. These faster growing developing economies will provide a market for U.S. exports in 2012.

Fiscal policy remains a question mark in the U.S. The payroll tax cut has been temporarily extended through February, 2012, but Congress may be reluctant to extend these cuts without commensurate spending reductions. In addition, the tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration will expire at the end of 2012. Without congressional action, marginal tax rates for high income taxpayers will increase and the tax rate on dividend income and capital gains will also rise. Thus, it is possible that greater fiscal austerity could restrain economic growth.

Against this backdrop, 2012 is likely to witness continued uncertainty in the financial markets. Investors will be focused on the latest headlines, with the upcoming Presidential election, debt ceiling debates, European debt negotiations and the latest economic data points all contributing to ongoing market volatility. During these volatile times, we believe that investors should focus on their long term objectives while maintaining a strategy of portfolio diversification across asset classes and market sectors.

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Security Controls and Best Practices for Your Business

In Internet banking as with traditional banking methods, security is a primary concern. At The Washington Trust Company we take precautions necessary to be sure your information is transmitted safely and securely. Because commercial accounts are not covered under Regulation E, your business will be responsible for any loss resulting from fraudulent transactions. To prevent and combat potential security attacks, we ask that you do the following:

Protect your PC and company network

 

  • Install antivirus, anti-malware and/or anti-spyware software on your computer. Consider installation of a firewall and intrusion detection appliance and make sure it is active and monitored by educated employees or outsourced vendors. Consider the use of automatic updates by the vendor, or take necessary steps to keep it updated.
  • Avoid accessing online banking from a public computer at a hotel, library, coffee house or other public wireless access point.
  • Consider a dedicated computer for online banking that is never used for email or general internet browsing.
  • If you are using a wireless network, be sure to secure it with the best available encryption protocol available on your wireless access point, i.e. WPA2. The other protocols that are available have documented security risks that should be considered before deploying. Also change all system default passwords that would allow a hacker access to the wireless access point.
  • Implement network settings that lock employee computers after a period of inactivity. Ask employees to lock their computer anytime they leave their desk, even if it is for a short period of time.
  • Restrict the ability to install software on your company computers; require installation by your technology department.
  • Limit or eliminate unnecessary internet browsing and/or access of personal email activity and accounts on company-owned computers.
  • Close all applications and browser windows before initiating online banking.

Protect your password

  • Do not share user IDs, passwords, PIN numbers, or security tokens, with anyone.
  • Do not write down your passwords or post them by your computer.
  • Do not use the same password for multiple accounts or for different financial institutions.
  • Avoid saving passwords on a computer.
  • If an employee (user) leaves your company, immediately collect their security tokens and delete their online banking access.
  • Washington Trust will never ask for your user ID or password. Don’t ever give it out.

Internal controls and education

  • Establish a separate account for the origination of each type of payment transaction. ACH origination, wire transfer, etc. Fund those accounts with just enough funds to cover the planned transactions on a daily basis. Ask that restrictions be placed on these accounts that allow only certain transactions to post.
  • Review your transactions daily to determine if fraudulent activity has occurred. Fraudsters are getting smarter – if your PC is infected with a virus, it may appear that your account activity is normal. Logon to Online Banking from a different PC or use alternative delivery channels to verify your account balance and transactions – ATMs, mobile banking, call center. Our channels are all real-time and will provide you with the most up to date information.
  • Utilize security and balance alerts so that you are notified via e-mail and or SMS text messages when activity occurs on your account.
  • Pay close attention to login screens. Washington Trust will not change the information required to login unless we notify you in advance.
  • Always use your pre-established link to access web sites. Never click on a link contained in an email. Educate all company personnel on good security practices, including social engineering threats. “Social engineering” occurs when your company’s online security is breached by a person, rather than through technology. For example, a person may pose as an employee of your company or another third-party, like Washington Trust, and ask for confidential information, such as log-in IDs, passwords, PIN numbers, or security tokens that would enable them to gain access to your accounts. This information should never be shared with anyone. We recommend that you educate your employees, at least annually or more often if practical, about security procedures. If you do not have anyone at your company qualified to provide security training, consider hiring an IT professional.
  • Make sure you have dual control over high risk transactions such as ACH or wire transfers. Employees who are able to initiate a transaction should not have the authority to authorize the transaction.
  • Consider establishing an email group for all online banking notifications. A review by more than one user can often catch errors or unauthorized activity.
  • Perform a periodic risk assessment and evaluation of your own internal controls, including reviews of your users and the permissions you grant them. Your company Administrator can establish user permissions and online transaction limits for each of your users.
  • Washington Trust offers positive pay services that allow you to monitor and control checks clearing against your accounts. Talk to your account manager to learn more about how this service protects your account.

What the Bank does to protect your account:

  • At least annually, the bank examines the controls it has implemented for online banking access.
  • Reviews the current fraud trends at least quarterly to determine if changes to current security controls are required and provide alerts to our customer base.
  • We provide tokens for use in conducting online Wire Transfer and ACH origination transactions.
  • We provide Positive Pay services for commercial customers.

What the Bank does not do:

  • We will never ask you for your online banking password.
  • We will not contact you via email requesting that you click on a link inside the email.
  • All electronic communications are done through the secure email system provided within the online banking system. We will never send your non-public information via email unless it utilizes our secure email system.

Please contact Washington Trust if you notice any unusual changes on the website or when you logon to online banking. We will continue to send you updated information to help you safe guard your business against potential threats. If you have questions, please contact us at 800-475-2265 or 401-348-1200 or click here.

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Recent Financings

  • $8 million commercial mortgage for the financing of the Hilton Garden Inn in Milford, CT
  • $2.7 million commercial mortgage for the refinancing and renovation of a 77,852 sq. foot shopping center in West Hartford, CT
  • $6 million in financing for a two-story office building in Southport, CT
  • $1.85 millionin financing for renovations to a shopping center in Coventry, CT
  • $5.25 million in financing to Post Road Properties to refinance its five-building office complex located in Warwick, RI

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RI's Bank of Choice

On January 8, 2012, Washington Trust was mentioned in the Providence Journal as the only locally-controlled bank from the short list of financial institutions with headquarters in the Ocean State.

"Brookline Bancorp’s acquisition of Providence-based Bancorp Rhode Island removes another locally-controlled bank from the short list of financial institutions with headquaters in RI. In fact, only one of the five biggest banks in the state - Westerly-based Washington Trust Company - still is controlled from Rhode Island.  Among the others, Providence-based Citizens Financial Group is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, Bank of America has its headquarters in Charlotte, NC, Boston-based Sovereign bank is owned by Spanish Grupo Santander and Webster Bank has its headquarters in Waterbury, CT."

The Washington Trust Company
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Maintenance

System Maintenance

April 20, 2014
12:30 a.m. until 4:30 a.m.

Due to system maintenance, Online Banking and Mobile Banking will be unavailable on Sunday, April 20 from 12:30 a.m. until 4:30 a.m.