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)
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
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
Alan Gulick, 206/377-3637
Adrian Rodriguez, 206/377-3268
SOURCE: Washington Mutual, Inc.