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Washington Mutual and the National Council of La Raza Team up to Increase Homeownership Education and Opportunities for Latinos

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 11, 2003--At the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) annual conference, Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) will announce $1 million in financial support for NCLR's ongoing efforts to increase homeownership opportunities for Latinos nationwide. Specifically, Washington Mutual's funding will support NCLR's Empowering An American Community Campaign as well as help expand its homebuyer education program to reach 40,000 Latino families, with a goal of turning 7,000 of them into homeowners over the next year -- doubling the current levels that NCLR serves.

Despite the rapid growth in Latino homeownership (48.1%) in recent years, the rate continues to lag behind the nation's overall rate (68.1%) and increasing Latino homeownership is top priority for NCLR. "Even though Latinos now represent the largest U.S. minority group, they remain one of the most under-tapped markets for homeownership," said Raul Yzaguirre, president of the National Council of La Raza. "With Washington Mutual's support, we'll be able to significantly step up our efforts to educate Latinos -- in both English and Spanish -- on what it takes to become a homeowner."

"We believe that everyone should have a place to call home and we're committed to increasing homeownership rates among the Latino community," said Kerry Killinger, Washington Mutual's chairman, president and CEO. "Our partnership with NCLR reflects our ongoing commitment to helping Latinos build wealth and achieve their financial dreams."

A long time supporter of NCLR and its affiliates, Washington Mutual's contribution brings NCLR within $5 million of reaching its campaign goal of $30 million. The Empowering America's Communities Campaign will provide funding to expand NCLR's advocacy and education efforts as well as financial support toward a new headquarters building and first ever Latino civil rights museum.

More than 16 percent of Washington Mutual's employees are Latino and earlier this year the company was again named to Hispanic Magazine's "Corporate 100: Best Places to Work for Latinos" for the second year in a row, and was ranked second on Hispanic Business magazine's list of the "corporate elite" with Hispanic employees at executive and management levels.

WaMu is committed to diversity and makes it an integral part of its business -- from its intern and management training programs, to the company's $375 billion lending and investment commitment which will help more low- to moderate-income and minority borrowers become homeowners. Washington Mutual strives to build and maintain a diverse employee base, to offer broad geographic availability and to offer products that enable access to financial services for everyone.

About the National Council of La Raza

The National Council of La Raza is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, tax-exempt organization established in 1968 to reduce poverty and discrimination, and improve life opportunities for Hispanic Americans. NCLR is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with field offices in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, San Antonio and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

About Washington Mutual

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a retailer of consumer financial services 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 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

    CONTACT: Washington Mutual
             Alfredo Padilla, 213/217-4093
    Laura Jones, 206/377-2153

    SOURCE: Washington Mutual