Elizabeth Eckel, The Washington Trust Co.

SHINING STAR: Elizabeth Eckel, The Washington Trust Co.’s senior vice president, chief marketing and corporate communications officer, in 1993 created the bank’s Reach for the STARS volunteer community program. / PBN PHOTO/TRACY JENKINS
SHINING STAR: Elizabeth Eckel, The Washington Trust Co.’s senior vice president, chief marketing and corporate communications officer, in 1993 created the bank’s Reach for the STARS volunteer community program. / PBN PHOTO/TRACY JENKINS

Leaders & Achievers 2022
ELIZABETH ECKEL
Senior vice president, chief marketing and corporate communications officer, The Washington Trust Co.


NO MATTER HOW LARGE a banking institution grows, it must never forget about the people it serves. Elizabeth Eckel is part of that philosophy at The Washington Trust Co. as its senior vice president, chief marketing and corporate communications officer.

Responsible for the Westerly-based banking institution’s external and internal communications, investor relations and community outreach, Eckel and her team have helped Washington Trust grow from six branches, when she joined the company in 1991, to 24, with a 25th opening soon. As technology changed and the bank expanded into commercial lending, mortgage lending and wealth management services, Eckel developed online resources and the bank’s first website. With several new acquisitions, Eckel rebranded them to reflect Washington Trust’s culture.

“I’ve helped build our company brand and grow our business lines, but establishing our employee volunteerism program and receiving the national Points of Light award in 2005 for our volunteerism makes me feel good,” Eckel said. She also established the annual Peanut Butter Drive in 2001 that has since collected 156 tons of peanut butter for local food pantries and families in need.

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‘We have a strong history and culture and I want to make sure that the nation’s oldest community bank remains so.’

Some 85% of the bank’s 640 employees participate in the Reach for the STARS program, which Eckel introduced in 1993 as the STAR, or “service, teamwork, assistant, respect” employee volunteerism program. Participation includes volunteering, serving on boards or contributing time and talent or financial support to community activities and events.

As a public company, Washington Trust now has many institutional investors and retail shareholders.

“Washington Trust needs to stay relevant to the local community while making sure we have growth and stability for shareholders,” Eckel said. “We have a very diverse income stream for a bank our size, and a great dividend.”

Eckel says she’s happy to mentor new employees at Washington Trust and help lead new programs, such as the bank’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative.

“We have a strong history and culture and I want to make sure that the nation’s oldest community bank remains so, even after I’ve retired,” Eckel said.

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