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Washington Mutual Responds to Ahmanson Ranch Lawsuit Announcements

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 17, 2003--Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) issued the following statement in response to today's announcement from Rally to Save Ahmanson Ranch regarding Ahmanson Ranch:

Ventura County's recent approval of the first phase of the Ahmanson Ranch was the product of more than two and one-half years of study. Throughout the process, both the developer and the County took pains to carefully observe all pertinent laws and regulations. On that basis, we will vigorously defend the project and the County - just as we have in numerous earlier lawsuits brought by many of the same parties to the actions announced today.

A total of 17 lawsuits involving the Ahmanson Ranch have been filed and resolved since 1992. It is noteworthy that all of them have been resolved in favor of the Ahmanson Ranch project.

Washington Mutual is proud of the proposed Ahmanson Ranch community; a balanced and environmentally sound response to the Southern California region's pressing need for new housing. This project has already caused 10,000 acres to be added to parkland in the region, and in coming years, will provide new homes for more than 3,000 California families. We will resist this latest attempt at "planning by lawsuit" in a determined fashion.

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a national financial services company that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and small- to mid-sized businesses. At September 30, 2002 Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had consolidated assets of $262.61 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,500 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are available at www.wamu.com.

--30--KS/se*

CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Tim Mcgarry, 213/217-4003