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Santa Claus Refinances His Workshop With Washington Mutual

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 17, 2002-- In the spirit of the holiday season, WaMu held a toy drive and donated

$2,500 to Toys for Tots; toys were delivered today by Santa Claus

What are the odds that Santa Claus would be refinancing his home loan and scheduled to close the loan by Christmas?

That's the question that Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) employees were asking themselves last week. Santa Claus is the customer's real name and he has been a Chicago area resident for 58 years.

"I'm not surprised that Santa Claus is refinancing, after all mortgage rates are near record lows and homeowners across the nation are taking advantage of this opportunity," said Dusica Cvorovic, Santa's loan consultant at Washington Mutual. "Obviously we've been good to Mr. Claus since he's coming back to us! And, we're having a bit of fun while supporting a great cause."

"Yeah, even I'm taking advantage of the good mortgage rates," said Santa Claus, Washington Mutual customer and noted toy delivery expert. "But more importantly, I'm glad that we brought some joy to kids at Christmas time -- that's what it's all about!"

In honor of its customer, Washington Mutual donated $2,500 to Toys for Tots and employees in the Chicagoland area held a toy drive for the organization. Customer Santa Claus delivered the donations today to the U.S. Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program based in Chicago.

"With Santa Claus as a customer, we thought it would be a terrific idea to partner with him and make a contribution to Toys for Tots, leveraging our financial backing and Santa's delivery expertise," said Mike Axelrood, first vice president for retail lending at Washington Mutual.

Gunnery Sergeant Kofahl with Toys for Tots said that this year the Foundation has experienced its most difficult fundraising and toy raising challenge since 1994. As of early December 2002, the Foundation had raised only 75 percent of its 2002 revenue goal and only 60 percent of its corporate toy donation goal. "This year there may be more children in need than ever before because of the economic downturn," said Kofahl. "We want every child to experience the joy of Christmas and Washington Mutual and Santa's contribution came just in time!"

About Santa Claus

Santa Claus is this gentleman's legal name and he has been living in the Chicago area for 58 years. Mr. Claus has been a Washington Mutual customer for a little more than a year. In addition to his pastime as "toy delivery expert," Mr. Claus owns a construction company and enjoys volunteering his time with church organizations, local schools, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and in senior centers.

About Toys for Tots

Created in 1947, Toys for Tots has grown from an initial collection and distribution of 5,000 toys to needy children of Los Angeles to the banner campaign at Christmas 2001 when Marines distributed over 13.2 million toys to 6.1 million needy children throughout the nation. During last year's campaign, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation supplemented local collections with 7.3 million toys valued at over $40 million. Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) not for profit charity, is the fund raising and support organization for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. Donations are deductible on federal income tax returns. If you wish to support the Toys for Tots program, visit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation Website at www.toysfortots.org for more information.

About Washington Mutual

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) is a national financial services company that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and small- to mid-sized businesses. At September 30, 2002, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $261.10 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.

Editor's Note: Photos available.

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CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Olivia Riley, 206/377-3636
olivia.riley@wamu.net