The bank on the Block

Sat, 03/26/2016 - 7:45am

When I worked for The Spring House in the early 1960s, I occasionally had to do some banking business for the hotel. That would require taking a trip to the credit union located in the building that now houses The Darius Inn. As I recall, that credit union was open very limited hours.

In the late ‘60s the “only bank on the Block,” as they called it, opened in the same Ocean Avenue location that now houses Washington Trust. It was a branch of the then Industrial Trust Co. Ironically it was my father who was the manager during that bank’s first summer of operation.

Later Fleet, and then the Bank of America, would reside at the Ocean Avenue location. The arrival of a new bank was a big event on Block Island.

I do not recall Brinks trucks transporting money at that time, but then my memory may have failed me.

Most islanders bank with Washington Trust for a good reason. The bank is so well liked on  “trips abroad,” they can visit a mainland branch to do their banking. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the Narragansett branch without seeing a neighbor.

There’s good news for those of us who travel to the mainland and venture beyond South County. Last year I found my way to Washington Trust’s East Providence and Rumford branches. These branches had opened within the last several years.

Washington Trust continues its growth and service, and recently opened a new branch in Wayland Square on the East Side of Providence. This branch boasts ample parking and an innovative layout. Gone is the traditional tellers counter, replaced by what is more like several counter stations. Personnel at this branch are called “Flex Bankers.” They not only can take your deposit, but are trained to handle a full range of banking tasks, including processing loans and opening accounts.

So, if you need to do mainland banking — or just have a connection to what is still “the bank on the Block” — Washington Trust continues to provide convenient access through its Rhode Island network of branches in Charlestown, Cranston, East Providence, Johnston, Narragansett, North Kingstown and Providence, as well as Richmond, Rumford, South Kingstown, Warwick and Westerly. They also have branches in Connecticut.

For more information, visit, or call the local branch at 466-7710.