Company Doubles Its Stores With 32 New Chicagoland Locations, Kicks Off
Advertising Blitz and Brings Surcharge-Free ATMs to Downtown Chicago
CHICAGO, Aug. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Washington Mutual today gave
back the buck-fifty to more than 1,000 fee-weary consumers, marking the
arrival of surcharge-free ATMs in downtown Chicago. Coin purses containing
$1.50 were handed out in the Loop as the bank, joined by Congressman Luis
Gutierrez and State Representative John Fritchey, announced 32 new retail
banking stores across Chicagoland, hundreds of new jobs, and the start of an
extensive advertising campaign. The company has now opened 60 stores in just
For years, consumers and Chicago leaders have called for an end to the ATM
surcharge fee, only to be stymied by court decisions and big commercial banks.
According to a Federal Reserve study released in June, 89% of all banks now
surcharge non-customer ATM users. Washington Mutual is the only major bank
with a no-surcharge policy, so anyone can use their ATMs without being
"Consumers are tired of being nickel-and-dimed by banks, so we're saying
the buck-fifty stops here," said Tony Manisco, senior vice president and group
manager for Washington Mutual retail banking in Illinois. "We've opened 60
locations in Chicagoland since mid-June with ten more to come by year-end, so
it's getting easier for people to find a safe haven from nuisance fees other
banks are so fond of."
"Too often consumers pay unnecessary fees just to access their money,"
said Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who is a member of the U.S. House of
Representatives Financial Services Committee. "Washington Mutual is doing the
right thing for overcharged consumers by allowing everyone to use their ATMs
without the typical surcharge."
Most banks charge a surcharge fee -- usually in the range of $1.50 to
$2.00 -- to non-customers who use their ATMs. Washington Mutual is announcing
surcharge-free ATMs at all of its Chicagoland locations. A person accessing a
non-Washington Mutual account at a Washington Mutual ATM may still be charged
a fee by their own bank.
Also today, Washington Mutual launched a major mass advertising campaign
in Chicago, including hundreds of television spots, thousands of radio ads,
hundreds of print placements and more than a thousand out of home units. The
campaign will reach all areas of Chicagoland via mass market, local and ethnic
media -- including specific campaigns for Chicago's African-American and
Hispanic communities. The campaign, scheduled to run through November,
promotes WaMu's Free Checking and surcharge-free ATMs. The campaign also
features a fleet of London Cabs offering customers and non-customers "free
rides to the home of Free Checking."
"Our advertising will reach Chicagoans with a loud and clear message --
there's a new way to bank in town," said Brad Davis, executive vice president
of marketing and brand management for retail banking at Washington Mutual.
"We are a consumer-focused company and we're pretty sure there's no rule that
says bankers can't smile and maybe even have a little bit of fun. That comes
through in our humor and our very un-banklike approach to advertising."
With the opening of 32 additional retail banking stores throughout the
metropolitan area, including four stores in downtown Chicago, WaMu will add
more than 200 jobs to the thousands it already employs in banking and mortgage
operations. The first wave of 28 stores launched on June 23. WaMu expects to
have at least 70 stores operating in the Chicagoland area by the end of the
Washington Mutual financial stores opened today at the following
1226 S. Canal St.
1811 W. North Ave.
206 N. Michigan Ave.
311 S. Wacker Dr.
609 W. North Ave.
555 W. Monroe St.
200 W. Randolph St.
712 E. 87th St.
3252 N. Lincoln Ave.
4113 N. Harlem Ave.
305 Waukegan Rd.
1539 Lake St.
2757 Pfingsten Rd.
7145 Central Ave.
23 S. Northwest Hwy.
500 N. Milwaukee Ave.
214 E. Geneva Rd.
241 Rice Lake Sq.
527 E. Roosevelt Rd.
1047 S. Roselle Rd.
1236 S. Naper Blvd.
149 N. Weber Rd.
7317 S. Lemont Rd.
62 Ogden Ave.
741 E. Boughton Rd.
2217 Route 59
3036 Wolf Rd.
7700 Broadview Village Sq.
3080 Caton Farm Rd.
17735 Halsted St.
16801 Torrence Ave.
2428 W. Lincoln Hwy.
About Washington Mutual
With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) is a
retailer of financial services that provides a diversified line of products
and services to consumers and small businesses. At June 30, 2003, Washington
Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $283.20 billion. Washington Mutual
currently operates more than 2,650 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
/CONTACT: Tara Williams of Washington Mutual, +1-973-280-1976,
email@example.com , or Marci May of Jasculca-Terman and Associates, Inc.
for Washington Mutual, +1-312-573-5464, firstname.lastname@example.org /
/Web site: http://www.wamu.com /
CO: Washington Mutual
IN: FIN ADV
SU: PDT HSP BLK
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7289 08/25/2003 13:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com