OAK HARBOR, Wash., Oct. 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Washington Banking Company (Nasdaq:WBCO), the holding company for Whidbey Island Bank, today reported it earned $4.5 million, or $0.29 per diluted share in the third quarter, up from $2.9 million or $0.19 per diluted share, in the preceding quarter and down from $4.6 million, or $0.30 per diluted share in the third quarter of 2012. For the first nine months of 2013, Washington Banking earned $12.0 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, compared to $12.3 million, or $0.79 per diluted share in the first nine months of 2012. "Our lending team continues to execute well, generating solid loan growth across the franchise," said Jack Wagner, President and Chief Executive Officer. "The loan portfolio grew 2% in the quarter and 6% year-over-year, and our pipeline of loans likely to close in the next 90 days remains very strong. "This year we entered the Northeast King County market, opening an office in Woodinville, which is bringing early success. We have applied to open a new branch in Issaquah, in support of our new commercial team there. This new office and team extends our footprint further south and east into the vibrant growing Eastside market," Wagner noted. "The new commercial team is in place and we expect to open the new branch at the end of the year." "Our general business outlook continues to reflect the economic recovery in the region," said Bryan McDonald, Whidbey Island Bank's President and CEO. "Loan demand is improving and our pipeline of activity remains strong. During the third quarter, we closed $66.3 million in new commercial loans, renewed or extended $80.4 million in existing commercial loans and funded $38.4 million in residential mortgages, for both refinance and purchase transactions. Residential refinancing is down from the accelerated pace of the last few years. With property values improving and interest rates still at very affordable levels, we continue to see moderate refinance activity, as well as steady demand from families purchasing new homes. In addition, the budget crisis in the other Washington temporarily interrupted the funding of SBA loans. We continued to take and process SBA applications, but were not able to close these loans while the government was shutdown. Now that government employees are back to work, we can complete the process for our small business customers."