The Bank Slate


Washington Trust in RI settles DoJ fair lending case

Washington Trust Bancorp in Westerly, R.I., has reached a settlement with the Justice Department over claims its bank violated fair lending laws.

The $7 billion-asset company said in a press release that the settlement addressed violations that allegedly took place between 2016 and 2021. Washington Trust denied the allegations, stating that it entered into the settlement to “avoid the expense and distraction of potential ligation.”

Washington Trust agreed to provide $7 million in subsidies over five years, covering mortgages, home improvement and refinance loans in specific census tracts in Rhode Island. The bank also committed $2 million to focused community outreach and marketing efforts.

The settlement does not include a civil monetary penalty.

“We believe we have been fully compliant with the letter and spirit of fair lending laws, and the agreement will further strengthen our focus on an area that has always been important to us,” Ned Handy, Washington Trust’s chairman and CEO, said in the release.

“Our Washington Trust RI Community Lending Program offers a variety of creative affordable-loan opportunities, and our financial literacy and educational programs help potential borrowers prepare for home ownership,” Handy added. “Our dedicated team includes multi-lingual and minority community outreach and loan officers.”

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