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Washington Mutual Expands its Lending to Native American Communities

NEW ORLEANS, Jun 23, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Today, at the National American Indian Housing Council's (NAIHC) annual convention, Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM), one of the nation's largest mortgage lenders and servicers, announced that it has committed $1 million to support closing costs associated with its Tribal Lending Programs.

This assistance includes up to $2,000 for each home loan. In addition, Washington Mutual recently provided a $40,000 grant to NAIHC, the only national non-profit organization devoted exclusively to Native American housing.

"We're passionate about finding ways to increase homeownership and help develop financial literacy skills among Native American communities in the United States," said Beth Castro, vice president for the Community and External Affairs Division at Washington Mutual. "WaMu's $1 million commitment greatly increases our ability to help Native American families achieve homeownership and build long-term wealth."

Washington Mutual's $1 million commitment to closing cost assistance associated with its Tribal Lending Programs will come from the company's Community Focus Funds, part of the Washington Mutual Community Access(TM) affordable home loans program. The tribal lending programs supported by this financial assistance will include the following programs in key markets:

    --  Washington Mutual Portfolio Tribal Loan for Individual
        (Allotted) Trust

    --  HUD 184 Loan Program for Tribal Trust, Individual (Allotted)
        Trust, and Fee Simple Lands

    --  FHA 248 Loan Program for Tribal Trust Land

Washington Mutual's $40,000 grant to the NAIHC helps the organization support tribes and tribal housing agencies in their efforts to provide affordable housing opportunities to Native Americans and Alaska Native communities.

Specifically, the grant will support the Mortgage Partnership, a forum created for the exchange of information regarding mortgage financing programs and opportunities in Indian Country. In addition, the grant will provide funding support for the annual legislative conference, new training on personal leadership development and the NAIHC annual convention. During NAIHC's convention, lending experts will conduct a workshop on tribal homeownership readiness assessment and will help participants create an action plan.

"We are pleased to be working closely with Washington Mutual to increase financial education and financial assistance to Native American communities," said Gary Gordon, NAIHC executive director. "There is a great opportunity for economic development on tribal lands -- from home loans to larger community development projects -- and the success of these projects rests heavily on support from the financial industry."

Efforts to increase lending to Native Americans helps Washington Mutual reach its 10-year, $375 billion lending and investment commitment to underserved populations. This commitment includes increasing the availability of affordable housing and lending programs to communities that have been traditionally underserved, including low-to moderate-income borrowers and communities with a high minority population.

About the Community and External Affairs Division

Helping to build strong, vibrant communities wherever Washington Mutual does business is integral to the company's long-term strategy. The Community and External Affairs Division oversees all community investment and development activities to ensure that Washington Mutual fulfills its community goals in the most strategic way possible. The Community and External Affairs Division manages, tracks and reports on all community-related endeavors, including grants, giving programs, volunteerism and the company's 10-year, $375 billion lending and investment commitment. The division works with a variety of groups that carry out community enrichment nationwide, such as the company's business units and partners, government agencies, schools, affordable housing groups and nonprofit community organizations.

About Washington Mutual

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual is a retailer of consumer financial services that provides a diversified line of products and services to consumers and small- to mid-sized businesses. At March 31, 2003, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $276.97 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.

SOURCE: Washington Mutual

Washington Mutual Public Relations
Darcy Donahoe-Wilmot, 206/377-3635
darcy.donahoe-wilmot@wamu.net
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