OAK HARBOR, Wash., Jan. 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Washington Banking Company (Nasdaq:WBCO), the holding company for Whidbey Island Bank, today reported it earned $14.5 million, or $0.93 per diluted share in 2013, with a 38.2% decline in nonperforming assets and 4.3% growth in originated loans compared to a year ago. In 2012, Washington Banking earned $16.8 million, or $1.09 per diluted share, with strong contribution from its covered loan portfolio. In the fourth quarter of 2013, earnings were $2.5 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, compared to $4.5 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2013 and $4.6 million, or $0.30 per diluted share in the fourth quarter of 2012. "The announcement that we will be merging with Heritage Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:HFWA) was an exciting event to finish our year," said Jack Wagner, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We believe this merger of two of Washington's strongest community banks will be a winning combination. We have received regulatory approval of the merger from the FDIC and Washington DFI. We believe we remain on track to close in the second quarter, as planned." "C&I, real estate and consumer lending were all strong in the fourth quarter and full year periods, offsetting the planned run-off of construction loans in our portfolio," said Bryan McDonald, Whidbey Island Bank's President and CEO. "Loan demand remains strong and our pipeline of activity continues to grow. During the fourth quarter, we closed $48.7 million in new commercial loans, renewed or extended $46.3 million in existing commercial loans and funded $28.6 million in residential mortgages, for both refinance and purchase transactions. We are continuing to see strong demand for SBA loans, closing $2.9 million in the fourth quarter, which is almost double the volume produced in the third quarter, and the SBA pipeline is up 60% from the end of September."