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Washington Mutual Opens Record Number of Branches in August; Meets Growth Projections with Ambitious Expansion Strategy

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 26, 2003--Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM), the nation's leading retailer of consumer financial services, opened a record-setting 49 retail banking de novo stores in August. The majority of the new banking stores, 32, opened yesterday in Chicago. This is the largest number of retail banking stores Washington Mutual has opened in one month, and the largest number opened in a day.

"Late last year we announced our intention to expand our retail banking store network by almost 17 percent, or 250 stores in 2003 -- and we are on track to reach that goal," said Deanna Oppenheimer, President, Banking and Financial Services Group. "While other large banks have recently rediscovered retail banking, more and more consumers are experiencing WaMu's unique brand of friendly service and appealing, customer-centric products," Oppenheimer said, noting that the company opened 143 retail banking stores in 2002.

Unlike most of its large competitors, Washington Mutual has always operated under the strategy that customers like to meet bankers face-to-face, in a comfortable setting.

WaMu's growth strategy is to provide its relaxed and warm retail banking approach to customers within many of the country's 50 largest metropolitan areas. At this time, WaMu is serving consumers and small businesses in 28 of those cities. So far, the company has achieved 30 percent consumer household market share in 12 of the top 50 metropolitan areas.

"We have found great success with our approach of introducing our revolutionary retail banking concept in markets where we already have a substantial mortgage banking presence," Oppenheimer said. "By the time we open retail banking stores in a new city, we have name recognition and an established reputation for great products and friendly service."

Washington Mutual recently announced that it would open 40 to 60 retail banking stores in its newest market, Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL, starting in 2004.

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 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

    CONTACT: Washington Mutual
             Mary Kelley, 206/377-6878

    SOURCE: Washington Mutual