SEATTLE, Jun 27, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Washington Mutual,
Inc.(NYSE:WM), the nation's leading retailer of consumer financial
services, today announced it is extending its presence in Florida by
opening 40 to 60 of its award-winning retail financial stores in the
Tampa area starting in 2004. The company currently operates 150
financial centers (branches) in Central and Southeast Florida.
"Expanding our retail bank into Tampa complements our existing
presence while extending our national retail bank franchise," said
Michael Amato, EVP and manager of Consumer Branch Banking for
Washington Mutual Banking and Financial Services. "We aim to offer
Tampa consumers a brand of banking unlike any other, which combines a
good deal with friendly, efficient service for everyone. We believe
our products -- with Free Checking leading the way -- in combination
with our signature retail banking model will be of interest to
customers who are dissatisfied with their current bank."
Washington Mutual's consumer-friendly approach to banking includes
Free Checking that's truly free, surcharge-free ATMs, and unlimited
free access to tellers and customer service representatives no matter
what type of account. "Over the years, consumers have made it clear
they don't want to be 'nickel and dimed' by their bank," said Amato.
"We listened and structured our fees according. We believe our
products and services will go over very well and will prove to be a
great complement to our mortgage product line, which we've offered in
Tampa for several years now," he said.
No Stranger to Tampa
Although Washington Mutual is now announcing plans to enter the
banking market in Tampa, the company is no stranger to Florida. The
company is the No. 2 home lender in the state and currently employs
more than 6,000 people throughout Florida. In Tampa, Washington Mutual
operates six home loan centers -- which focus exclusively on
residential mortgage lending -- with plans for two more. WM Finance,
one of the company's subsidiaries, is headquartered in Tampa and has
eight offices in the area. The company also has a commercial banking
regional office in Tampa.
Signature Brand of Retail Banking
Washington Mutual's retail financial stores represent a dramatic
shift from traditional bank branches in look, feel and service. Rather
than directing customers to ATMs, Washington Mutual takes its cues
from cutting edge retailers, using an open, welcoming environment and
top-notch customer service to draw people into the financial center.
The complete package is unlike anything else available in banking.
"By uniting our customer-friendly service with innovative
technology and design elements, we're able to provide something banks
have never consistently delivered: an inviting customer experience,"
In the past three years, Washington Mutual has successfully opened
or remodeled more than 450 financial stores using its signature retail
banking model in locations across the U.S, including the company's
newest retail banking markets of Las Vegas, Denver, Atlanta, Phoenix
and New York, and its well established markets, such as Los Angeles,
San Francisco, Miami and Seattle. The company expects to open a total
of 250 retail financial stores across the country this year.
About Washington Mutual
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 March 31, 2003, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries
had consolidated assets of $276.97 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.
SOURCE: Washington Mutual
Sheri Pollock, 206/377-2138 (Media Relations)
JoAnn DeGrande, 206/461-3186 (Investor Relations)
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