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Washington Trust Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ Global Select; symbol: WASH), parent company of The Washington Trust Company, today announced first quarter 2012 net income of $8.4 million, or 51 cents per diluted share, compared to fourth quarter 2011 net income of $7.8 million, or 47 cents per diluted share, and first quarter 2011 net income of $6.8 million, or 42 cents per diluted share. First quarter 2012 diluted earnings per share represented a 9% increase over the fourth quarter 2011 and a 21% increase over the first quarter of 2011. The returns on average equity and average assets for the first quarter of 2012 were 11.85% and 1.11%, respectively, compared to 10.04% and 0.94%, respectively, for the same period in 2011.
“Washington Trust posted solid first quarter results, with net income up 24 percent over a year ago,” stated Joseph J. MarcAurele, Washington Trust Chairman, President and Chief Executive Office. “We are pleased with our performance, as we’ve been able to strategically grow the Corporation, despite continued economic challenges.”
Selected financial highlights for the first quarter included:
Net interest margin increased to 3.27%, up five basis points from the fourth quarter of 2011, primarily due to reductions in the cost of time deposits and borrowings.
Mortgage banking revenues (net gains on loan sales and commissions on loans originated for others) reached an all time high at $3.1 million for the quarter. These results reflected continued origination volume growth in our residential mortgage lending offices.
Asset quality indicators showed noticeable improvement in the first quarter of 2012. The balances of nonperforming assets (nonaccrual loans, nonaccrual investment securities and property acquired through foreclosure or repossession), loan delinquencies and troubled debt restructurings all declined from December 31, 2011 to March 31, 2012.
The loan loss provision charged to earnings in the first quarter of 2012 was $900 thousand, the lowest quarterly provision since the first quarter of 2008.
Wealth management revenues were up 4% on a linked quarter basis. Wealth management assets under administration amounted to $4.2 billion at March 31, 2012.
Net Interest Income
Net interest income increased by 2% from the fourth quarter of 2011 due to the continued reduction in wholesale funding and time deposit costs. Compared to the first quarter of 2011, net interest income rose by $2.1 million, or 10%, reflecting the benefit of lower funding costs as well as a 7% increase in average loan balances. The net interest margin for the first quarter of 2012 was 3.27%, compared to 3.22% for the fourth quarter of 2011 and 3.16% for the first quarter of 2011.