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In Celebration of the Entrepreneurial Spirit of Small Business Owners, Washington Mutual Kicks off National Sweepstakes
    SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 2, 2005--

      $100,000 In Cash Prizes and 40 Free Computers; Educational
                         Seminars Also Planned

In celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit of small business owners, Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) is kicking off a national sweepstakes with cash prizes totaling $100,000 and 40 desktop computers to be given away. Additionally, the company will sponsor Secrets of Small Business Success seminars in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco.

"Small businesses are truly the backbone of our national economy," said Clark Collins, senior vice president of marketing at Washington Mutual. "We applaud their vast contributions and want to recognize them with this special congratulatory promotion." Citing statistics from a recent Small Business Administration newsletter, Collins noted that small firms have generated 60 to 80 percent of the net new jobs annually over the last decade, employ half of the private sector employees, and pay over 44 percent of the total U.S. private payroll.

"Despite their economic significance, we find the small business segment to be largely underserved," stated Collins. "This was a driving factor in our decision last year to significantly expand our emphasis on small business. The response has been highly successful, with our small business checking accounts at the end of 2004 up nearly 50 percent from a year ago."

One Grand Prize Winner of $50,000; Five Other Winners of $10,000 Each

Under the Big Advantage for Small Business $100,000 Sweepstakes promotion, Washington Mutual will select six cash-prize winners altogether, with one grand prize winner receiving $50,000 to start or grow his or her business, and five winners receiving $10,000 each. Additionally 40 IBM(R) ThinkCentre(TM) desktop computers with a flat panel LCD monitor and keyboard will be awarded.

Customers who open new small business accounts at Washington Mutual during the month of May will be automatically registered to win. Entries can also be picked up by customers and noncustomers at Washington Mutual branches or by visiting the company's website at www.wamu.com. In addition, the grand prize winner will receive a special coaching session with successful entrepreneurs Rich and Jeff Sloan, founders of StartupNation(R), a multimedia company that features a nationally syndicated radio show and a newly published book entitled StartupNation (expected to be released in mid-May).

Also planned are the Secrets of Small Business Success seminars, which are cosponsored by Infinity Broadcasting and open to the public. The seminars feature a panel of business experts who will share valuable tips and answer questions during a breakfast forum. The seminars will run May 24 at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles, May 25 at the 101 Club in New York and the Walnut Creek Marriott in San Francisco, and May 26 at Maggiano's on Grand in Chicago. Costs range from $10 to 20. For information, please call 206-461-2420.

About Washington Mutual

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 commercial clients. At March 31, 2005, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $319.70 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,400 retail banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are available at www.wamunewsroom.com.


    CONTACT: Washington Mutual
             Mary Kelley, 206-377-6878
             Mobile: 206-459-0394
             Mary.kelley@wamu.net

    SOURCE: Washington Mutual