SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 13, 2004--Thousands of dollars in
$10 bills were handed out on the streets of downtown Seattle today as
Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) celebrated a decade of Free Checking.
A crowd of fans, customers, and consumers joined the noontime
celebration at Westlake Center, cheering the return of the Rodeo
Grandmas -- four women from Ellensburg, Wash., who made their public
debut in Washington Mutual's ad campaign a decade ago that launched
"We thought what better way to celebrate Free Checking than by
putting money into people's pockets," said Bob Bond, retail bank
division manager at Washington Mutual. "Free Checking has been a
wonderful success for us, it's something people really want - and
that's what Washington Mutual is all about - delivering what everyday
people want: friendly service, great products, and good value."
Washington Mutual has offered its flagship consumer product - Free
Checking - since 1994. Today, more than 4 million households currently
banking with Washington Mutual opened a Free Checking account as their
first product with the company.
"Washington Mutual has been a leader in the nationwide free
checking trend," said Jim McCormick, president of First Manhattan
Consulting Group in New York. "Free Checking and other
customer-friendly initiatives have resulted in outstanding market
share gains and growth relative to other banks."
Driving that growth is Washington Mutual's belief in giving
customers choices. They can access their Free Checking account with no
direct deposit or minimum balance requirement to avoid a monthly fee,
and without teller fees, per-check charges, check card annual fees, or
fees for talking to a telephone banker. Customers can then choose to
add services to their account, such as free Personal Online Banking
and Personal Bill Pay(TM) service, and Free ID Theft Services. They
can even choose to help out their local school by signing up for the
WaMoola for Schools program, which gives money back to schools based
on Visa Check Card purchases.
About Washington Mutual
With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a
retailer of financial services that provides a diversified line of
products and services to consumers and commercial clients. At June 30,
2004, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $278.54
billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,400 retail
banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, and financial services
offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are
available at www.wamunewsroom.com.
CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Olivia Riley, 206-377-3636
Darcy Donahoe-Wilmot, 206-377-3635
SOURCE: Washington Mutual