WESTERLY — About 50 Washington Trust Company employees will climb onto a bus at about 3:30 Tuesday morning bound for New York City where, a few hours later, Edward “Ned” O. Handy III, the bank’s chairman and chief executive officer, will ring the bell signaling the start of the Nasdaq Stock Market trading day.
“It’s a fun opportunity presented by Nasdaq. I think it comes in recognition of our history, performance and some other recognition we’ve received recently,” said Handy, whose bank title mirrors those that he holds for the bank’s parent company, Washington Trust Bancorp Inc.
The ceremony will be a festive occasion for the 600 Washington Trust employees who helped place the bank in American Banker’s list of the Top 50 mid-tier banks in the country earlier this month for the fifth year in a row. Washington Trust has also been on Providence Business News’ list of best places to work in Rhode Island for eight years running, Handy said.
When he rings the bell at 9:30 a.m. at Nasdaq’s Times Square facility, Handy will have all of the bank’s employees in mind, he said.
“It’s a real celebration of our employees and their hard work,” he said.
Founded in 1800 and named after George Washington, the bank is recognized as being the oldest community bank in the country. Washington Trust Bancorp Inc., the parent company, had $4.6 billion in assets as of March 31. The bank has more than 20 branch locations.
“We’re building off of an old, strong foundation … I think they’re intrigued by our story,” Handy said of Nasdaq’s interest in the bank.
Nasdaq is the second-largest stock exchange in the world, behind only the New York Stock Exchange.