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Washington Mutual and Johnson Development Corporation Bring the ``Magic'' of Home Ownership to Atlanta

Earvin "Magic" Johnson in East Point Tomorrow for Home Loan Center Grand Opening

EAST POINT, Ga.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Oct. 27, 2003-- Earvin "Magic" Johnson, chairman and CEO of Johnson Development Corporation (JDC), is teaming up with Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) to celebrate the grand opening of new Washington Mutual home loan centers in the Greater Atlanta area.

JDC and Washington Mutual, through a groundbreaking commitment to urban America, will open home loan centers together throughout the nation's underserved communities to help people in these neighborhoods build wealth, achieve their financial goals and realize the dream of home ownership.

As part of a special grand opening announcement tomorrow, Tuesday, October 28, at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, Johnson, Ken Lombard, president of JDC, and Washington Mutual's Executive Vice President for home lending sales and distribution, Tony Meola, will appear at the East Point Home Loan Center, Camp Creek Market Place, 3360 Shelby Lane, Suite 1010, to discuss the unique new commitment and the company's involvement. The day-long event will include the grand opening announcement, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, and a community open house.

This special event marks the grand opening of the first of three Washington Mutual and JDC Home Loan centers in the Greater Atlanta area. The other two are located at 590 Cascade Road in the West End and 595 Piedmont Avenue in Midtown. Similar openings will follow in Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., in the coming months. A total of 15 home loan centers are planned for the first year of the partnership.

"We are excited to be part of the Greater Atlanta community and to bring our mutual passion for educating people about how they can get a mortgage for a new home," Johnson said. "This partnership could not be successful without Washington Mutual's commitment to put Home Loan Centers in the communities that need them most. They understand that the way to make the dream come true is to be right next door, in underserved neighborhoods, to give people access and guide them through the process of buying a home."

Lombard said the joint effort is also about building communities. "East Point is our first WaMu/JDC home loan center location in Atlanta and we are proud to have opened this center in one of Atlanta's key communities." He added: "Economic growth is the key to solving many problems faced by minority community residents, and by joining forces with Washington Mutual, we hope to help rebuild urban communities, stimulate local economies, and bring much needed services to residents."

"Washington Mutual and JDC share a commitment to address the financial needs of consumers and small-business owners of diverse ethnic backgrounds, as well as those in the low- to moderate-income population," said Meola. "Together, I know that we will develop long-term relationships that will bring new opportunity and positive change to our communities."

For more than 100 years, Washington Mutual has helped stabilize neighborhoods to make them better places to live, work and raise families. This commitment to urban America includes affordable lending programs and products that increase accessibility, while furthering the company's expansion into urban areas with new home loan centers. The home loans center staff will:

  • Be hired from the local community;
  • Work with non-profits and government agencies to develop programs to benefit local residents;
  • Develop curricula and teach homebuyer and financial literacy in the community;
  • Offer a tailored set of products to local residents to increase home ownership opportunities; and
  • Be supported by co-branded marketing materials and joint advertising campaigns developed to increase awareness of home ownership opportunities and foster trust and understanding in local communities.

Located in the neighborhoods that Washington Mutual retail banking already serves, these new home loan centers aim to put potential homeowners at ease with a diverse and friendly staff. Loan consultants will offer highly personalized service by explaining the flexible and affordable options available to clients while guiding them through the process of buying a home.

About Johnson Development Corp.

JDC, a company formed in 1994 by Johnson, is comprised of five separate companies, each functioning independently to serve as a business stimulus, foster local economic growth and create financial empowerment in long neglected minority urban and suburban neighborhoods. JDC develops entertainment complexes, restaurants and retail centers. The development projects provide jobs and employ local minority contractors in the communities in which they operate.

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 Sept. 30, 2003, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $286.72 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,700 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are available at

CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Nova Hunn Barnett, 404-881-0276
Alan Gulick, 206-377-3637
Flowers Communications Group
Ronald Childs, 312-986-1260
Audarshia Townsend, 312-986-1268

SOURCE: Washington Mutual