SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 22, 2004--Washington Mutual, Inc.
(NYSE:WM) today announced plans to sharpen the focus of its retail
mortgage lending channel in an effort to enhance the growth and
profitability of its entire mortgage banking businesses.
Washington Mutual said it will concentrate its retail loan
origination activities mainly in markets where it already has a retail
banking presence -- its "signature" markets, thereby effectively
leveraging its advertising and other branding efforts. The company
will close retail loan origination offices outside these signature
markets, but will continue to serve home mortgage customers in them
through existing wholesale and correspondent lending relationships.
"We are going to focus even more attention on the high-growth
markets where we can gain additional leverage from the company's
overall branding efforts," said Tony Meola, executive vice president,
Washington Mutual Home Loans Production. "We plan to fuel significant
new growth in our retail mortgage operations by re-directing resources
to our most productive and profitable activities.
"We have the right team to make that happen -- a team that is
committed to helping customers find their dream home," Meola added.
Washington Mutual's plan to narrow the focus of its retail
mortgage lending operations will result in the closure of
approximately 100 retail lending and loan processing offices in 17
non-signature markets, including Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky,
Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, and New Mexico. It also
includes North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, West
Virginia, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The facility
closures are expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2004 and
will result in the elimination of approximately 1,840 positions across
the nation. Coupled with yesterday's announced closure of its mortgage
loan processing facility in San Antonio, Texas and the related
reduction in force of 660 employees there, the company expects to
eliminate a total of 2,500 positions in its mortgage operations as a
result of these actions by year-end 2004.
The impact of this decision on the company's wholesale and
correspondent lending channels across the nation is minimal.
In its wholesale channel, through which Washington Mutual buys
mortgages that are originated primarily by brokers, the company will
remain active in non-signature as well as signature markets.
In the correspondent channel, through which Washington Mutual buys
mortgages that are originated primarily by other financial
institutions, the company also will remain active in non-signature as
well as signature markets. However, the company plans to shift the
emphasis of this business to focus on the production of higher margin
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
Adrian Rodriguez, 206-377-3268
Alan Gulick, 206-377-3637
SOURCE: Washington Mutual