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November 22, 2022

Washington Trust expands with additional New Haven office, new hires

PHOTO | CONTRIBUTED Washington Trust hosted a grand opening for its new office in New Haven on Nov. 17. From left to right are: John Miller, director of development and business partnerships, New Haven Promise; Patricia Melton, president, New Haven Promise, and Edward O. Handy III, chairman and chief executive officer, Washington Trust.

The Washington Trust Company recently expanded its Connecticut presence by opening a new commercial lending office at 265 Church St., Suite 1010, in New Haven.

The office is adjacent to the existing Washington Trust Wealth Management office, which is in Suite 1006. 

The bank celebrated its new space with an official opening event, which was attended by several area leaders and dignitaries, on Nov. 17. It signed a lease in July, and finalized getting its team fully in place there in October, after getting furniture, fixtures and computers installed.

Edward O. “Ned” Handy III, chairman and CEO of Washington Trust, said the opening of this commercial lending office means the bank can support more businesses and municipalities with commercial and industrial (C&I) loans, commercial real estate financing and cash management services statewide.

“This expansion is vital to the Connecticut market as we believe there is growing demand,” Handy said, in an announcement.

The office opening comes with additional staff who will be based there. The bank added three new vice presidents who will develop and maintain commercial banking relationships throughout Connecticut. The new hires bring the total number of employees based in the New Haven commercial lending office to seven.

“We have a terrific team of commercial bankers who live, work and have experience in the Connecticut market,” Handy said. “We look forward to being a key component to the growth and prosperity of the Connecticut economy.”

The new staffers in New Haven include: 

Earnest Clayton, vice president, commercial real estate. Clayton has more than a decade of commercial lending experience, including C&I credit analysis, portfolio management, construction loan monitoring and SBA loan underwriting. He previously served as vice president, senior commercial credit analyst with Patriot Bank in Milford.

Lee Fernandez, who has more than 20 years of commercial real estate and banking experience, has been appointed vice president, commercial real estate. Fernandez has portfolio management experience in C&I, CRE and small business lending. Fernandez  joins Washington Trust from Ion Bank in Naugatuck, where he served as senior vice president of commercial lending.

Jeremy Canestri will serve as vice president, cash management. Canestri joins Washington Trust from Webster Bank. Canestri has more than 15 years of banking experience, with 10 years of specialization in cash management operations and product development.

Washington Trust, originally founded in 1800, has offices in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts. It has provided financing to Connecticut businesses for more than two centuries, and has increased commercial real estate and commercial and industrial financing in the New Haven and Hartford regions in recent years.

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