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Washington Mutual to Offer Faster, More Reliable Appraisal Services
SEATTLE, Jul 5, 2001 (BUSINESS WIRE) --

WaMu's Home Loans & Insurance Services Group to Integrate Automated Real Estate Appraisal System Enabling Faster Closings

Washington Mutual Home Loans & Insurance Services Group today announced plans to deliver OptisValue(TM), a real estate appraisal system that supports Optis(TM), the company's automated mortgage origination platform.

Scheduled to be available during the third quarter of this year, the new system will streamline the appraisal process to provide a faster, less expensive appraisal service and electronic delivery of appraisal reports.

"Our new real estate appraisal system will help support WaMu's substantial loan production and will contribute to the efficiencies delivered by Optis," said Stacey Arens, executive vice president of operations for the Home Loans & Insurance Services Group at Washington Mutual. "The OptisValue system supports our goal to enable closings in three to five days. With the use of AI Ready software, the system will create significant cost savings for Washington Mutual and ultimately for our customers."

Washington Mutual incorporated FNC Inc.'s Collateral Management System (CMS) to support OptisValue. The new system will automate the entire appraisal process, including ordering, assigning and return of the completed appraisal product, which will enable faster, less expensive service and electronic delivery of reports. The system will also offer 24x7 access to information and real-time status of ordered appraisal services. OptisValue will ultimately increase productivity for appraisers and save loan customers time and money.

Washington Mutual approved appraisers will need to use Appraisal Institute (AI) Ready software to benefit from the speed and reliability of the OptisValue system. Appraisers will then be able to go to www.appraisalport.com to electronically receive assignments and submit completed appraisals.

Both AI Ready software and AppraisalPort.com are required components to using Washington Mutual's OptisValue system. AI Ready software is currently offered by Day One, a division of Appraisal.com Inc. Appraisers should check with their software provider to determine if their software supports the AI Ready standard. More information about AI Ready software can be found at www.aiready.com. All WaMu appraisers will be transitioned to the new system supported by AI Ready software by the third quarter of 2001.

About Optis
Washington Mutual is the nation's leading mortgage lender with the broadest product line for consumers and brokers. Optis, an automated mortgage origination platform, is the foundation for the company's initiative to lead the industry in the speed of decision and reliability of close for home loans. Coined from the word options and the Latin word optimus, meaning "best," Optis automates 80 percent of the steps in the mortgage process, making it fast and easy for borrowers, realtors and WaMu PremiereBrokers. The goal for Optis is to enable loan decisions in minutes and closings in as few as three to five days. Optis will also have the ability to generate increased sales volume, market share and flexibility, enhanced productivity while reducing pricing errors and providing consistent credit quality. This increased efficiency will save on costs that can be funneled into better pricing. Most importantly, Optis allows Washington Mutual to move quickly and provide customers with more options on their home loans.

"Our goal is to put more people into homes -- we call it The Power of Yes -- and OptisValue, as part of the overall Optis system, will help us do this faster and better than before," Arens said.

About Washington Mutual
With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual, Inc. (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 March 31, 2001, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $219.93 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,300 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's news releases are available at www.wamu.com.

CONTACT:          Washington Mutual, Inc.
                  P. Kevin Horn, 206/377-3268              
                  kevin.horn@wamu.net
                  or
                  Olivia Riley, 206/377-3636         
                  olivia.riley@wamu.net