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WaMu Hits One Million Mark in Small Business Checking Accounts
Competitive Products, Unique Approach Help Drive Appeal and Growth
SEATTLE, May 19, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Just 12 months after launching a re-vamped and more robust small business line, WaMu (NYSE:WM) announced today that it has passed the one million business checking account mark. The milestone reflects double-digit business checking growth, year over year (Q107-Q108), and illustrates the powerful growth opportunity for WaMu in serving small business customers.

"Our increased focus on small business and meeting the needs of small business owners in a way that is uniquely WaMu's supports our vision to be a leader in consumer and small business banking," said James Corcoran, president, Retail Banking. "Our commitment has driven some impressive results: 35 percent compound growth in checking and 23 percent compound growth in deposits (Q105-Q108), which topped $9 billion at the end of the first quarter."

Like its groundbreaking WaMu Free Checking(TM) consumer counterpart, Free Business Checking offers small business customers with a $100 opening deposit exceptional value: an account with no monthly service charge, balance minimum or transaction limits. For businesses with larger transaction volumes and balances, there's WaMu's Business Analysis Checking - customers can consolidate accounts into a single monthly account analysis statement, which allows their excess balances in one account to offset eligible service charges in another.

"WaMu small business customers receive the same brand of simpler, better products and friendly service that WaMu is known for," said Frank Vella, SVP and small business division executive. "We articulate our approach in our "Learn. Advise. Grow." customer value proposition which focuses on building a relationship with our clients, learning about their specific business and industry, and customizing banking solutions to fit their unique needs. We think of it as 'business banking made personal.'"

Industry-leading Innovation, Recognition

Though WaMu's small business line is just beginning to build momentum, it has already posted some notable accomplishments. WaMu launched the industry's first truly instant online paperless account opening capability for sole proprietors in April 2008, allowing customers to open an account online in a seamless process that takes eight steps and can be completed in about 10 minutes.

WaMu topped every major national competitor in J.D. Power and Associates' most recent "Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study"; ranking third overall and ahead of financial institutions with well-established small business banking lines. The study measured small business customer satisfaction with the overall banking experience based on seven factors: transaction methods, relationship with representative, products, fees, statements, convenience and problem resolution.

About WaMu

WaMu, through its subsidiaries, is one of the nation's leading consumer and small business banks. At March 31, 2008, WaMu and its subsidiaries had assets of $319.67 billion. The company has a history dating back to 1889 and its subsidiary banks currently operate approximately 2,200 consumer and small business banking stores throughout the nation. WaMu's financial reports and news releases are available at www.wamu.com/ir.


Gary Kishner, 818-775-4234 (office)
Diana McSweeney, 206-500-3619 (office)