Print Page Close Window

Washington Mutual Sharpens Focus on Commercial Lines of Business

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 29, 2004--Washington Mutual, Inc. (NYSE:WM) today announced a series of steps designed to sharpen the focus of its Commercial Group's business lines. The actions include the closure over time of 53 Commercial Banking locations, which provide commercial banking services to mid- to large-sized companies. The company emphasized that it will continue to serve small businesses with $5 million or less in sales through its more than 1,800 retail banking store network.

The Commercial Group will also no longer serve the professional home builder finance market and will reorganize its Commercial Real Estate team to focus on structured and standardized portfolio lending for commercial real-estate owners and investors. It will discontinue its proprietary commercial mortgage-backed securitization (CMBS) platform.

The Commercial Group will continue to serve larger commercial customers through lending to multi-family and commercial real estate owners and investors, and providing lines of credit and deposit products to mortgage bankers through its Mortgage Banker Finance business. In addition, the Commercial Group will continue to serve residential customers through its Specialty Mortgage Finance business and Long Beach Mortgage Company. A full range of treasury management services for commercial businesses will also continue to be available.

The actions announced today will result in the elimination of approximately 850 positions across the nation over the next year, with a majority of those occurring in the next 90 days. These changes will not have a material impact on the company this year as ongoing earnings from the loan portfolio will continue and expense savings will largely offset any charges for severance and facilities closures. The loans associated with exited businesses total approximately $5 billion or less than 2.5 percent of the total loan portfolio of Washington Mutual, Inc. at June 30, 2004.

The closure of Commercial Banking locations will occur between August 20 and October 29 in the following 14 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.

"We have a great team dedicated to growing our commercial lines of business with a focused set of products and services for Multi-Family Lending, Commercial Real Estate, Mortgage Banker Finance, Specialty Mortgage Finance and Long Beach Mortgage Company," said Craig Chapman, Commercial Group president. "Today's announcement is difficult because it impacts employees who have worked so hard for our company. However, our future success depends on focusing our teams on major markets, products and services where we can best serve our commercial customers."

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

    CONTACT: Washington Mutual
             Media Contacts:
             Alan Gulick, 206/377-3637
             Adrian Rodriguez, 206/377-3268

    SOURCE: Washington Mutual, Inc.