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Washington Mutual Announces Support and Relief Programs for Those Affected by the Iraq Conflict; American Red Cross and Mercy Corps Donations Accepted at Financial Centers

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 31, 2003--Washington Mutual today announced a package of services and programs designed to provide special support and assistance to those affected by the conflict in Iraq. These programs are effective immediately.

To help raise needed funds, the company has partnered with two national organizations to facilitate cash donations. At its financial centers throughout the nation, Washington Mutual will accept donations to the American Red Cross and Mercy Corps.

Donations to the American Red Cross through Washington Mutual will go directly to its Armed Forces Emergency Services (AFES) to help the organization provide U.S. troops and their families in the Persian Gulf and around the world with emergency communication services, access to financial assistance, verification of information required for emergency leave, counseling, family support and veterans assistance. Currently, there are 24 Red Cross staff members on the ground in Kuwait, living and working alongside service personnel to link them with their families and provide a touch of home.

Mercy Corps, based in Portland, Ore., provides humanitarian relief to refugees throughout the world. Its newly created fund, the Iraqi Childrens' Fund, will bring water, food, hygiene supplies and other critical aid to the children and their families displaced by the fighting in the Middle East.

In addition to a corporate gift, Washington Mutual will match the first $10,000 donated to each account by the general public. Washington Mutual is also matching contributions made by its more than 50,000 employees nationwide.

People may donate to the American Red Cross and Mercy Corps at any Washington Mutual financial center or via the Internet at

In support of the thousands of military families who are Washington Mutual customers, the company has tailored its services to provide assistance that extends beyond the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act.

For its home lending customers with family members overseas, Washington Mutual has set up a program to help with mortgage payments. Mortgage and consumer loan customers who are facing a financial hardship can contact Washington Mutual at a special toll-free number, 800/323-9417, to be connected with a customer care representative who will work with them on an individual basis. Washington Mutual will also work with families that lose a loved one while in active duty and, as appropriate, defer their monthly principal and interest payments on their mortgage and consumer loans for up to one year.

Effective immediately, Washington Mutual is also offering fee waivers for the following banking services to active military personnel through its "In Support of the Troops" program:

    --  Washington Mutual fee for using any non-Washington Mutual ATM;

    --  Foreign wire transfer fees;

    --  The early withdrawal penalty on Certificates of Deposit; and

    --  The monthly fee for paying bills via personal Online Banking.

In order to qualify for any of these waivers, customers simply need to stop by their nearest Washington Mutual financial center, or call 800/788-7000 in the U.S. or 866/669-3867 from outside the U.S. 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 December 31, 2002, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had consolidated assets of $268.30 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

About the American Red Cross

Governed by volunteers and supported by community donations, the American Red Cross is a nationwide network of nearly 1,000 chapters and Blood Services regions dedicated to saving lives and helping people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Led by 1.2 million volunteers and 30,000 employees, the Red Cross annually mobilizes relief to families affected by more than 67,000 disasters, trains almost 12 million people in lifesaving skills and exchanges more than a million emergency messages for U.S. military service personnel and their families. The Red Cross is the largest supplier of blood and blood products to more than 3,000 hospitals across the nation and also assists victims of international disasters and conflicts at locations worldwide.

About Mercy Corps

Based in Portland, Ore., Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided more than $640 million in aid to 74 nations. The agency currently reaches more than 5 million people in over 30 countries. More than 91 percent of the Mercy Corps' resources are allocated to programs that help those in need. Mercy Corps staff in Iraq and throughout the Middle East are overseeing a robust relief effort to help families in Iraq meet their increasing humanitarian needs. Mercy Corps has positioned supplies and personnel in northern Iraq, Iran and Kuwait as part of a plan to deliver food, water, shelter and medicine to 700,000 people over the next six months.

    CONTACT: Washington Mutual
             Libby Hutchinson, 206/461-2484

    SOURCE: Washington Mutual