Monday, January 13, 2020

Rhode Island's Washington Trust Celebrates 220 Years

What does it take for a company to survive for over 100 years? Take a look at Washington Trust, founded in 1800. Most financial institutions say their mission is to help customers achieve their financial goals and serve their local communities to help them thrive. That's what a bank needs to do if it wants to stay in business. But saying and doing are two different things. If survival is the ultimate performance measure of a business, then we have something to learn from Washington Trust. Their website claims they are the nation's oldest community bank. According to my records, this Washington Trust* is the oldest continuously operating financial institution in the U.S. All indications are that they have survived by implementing the longevity factors of CenturyClub companies. 

Washington Trust has been recognized by Forbes magazine as one of America's "50 Most Trustworthy Financial Companies" and has been named one of Rhode Island's "Best Places to Work" for many years. They recognize that the success of a financial institution depends on the health of their communities as a whole and the company is known for its community involvement, including volunteerism by their employees. 

Less than 15% of Century Club companies are public. It is often difficult to balance shareholders' needs with those of customers, employees, business partners, and community. Leaders can lose sight of the long-term if they are too focused on producing short-term results for an often impatient financial market. Washington Trust Bancorp is public (NASDAQ: WASH) and they have survived for 220 years. Such stability gives people the peace of mind they want in a financial institution and gives confidence that it will be there to help them into the future. Congratulations on 220 years in business and best wishes for many, many more.

*There is also a Washington Trust Bank in Spokane, Washington founded in 1902. 

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