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Washington Mutual Celebrates Major Milestone: The Opening of its 2,000th Store; East Flatbush store in Brooklyn, New York, is newest addition to national franchise

SEATTLE, Jul 22, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- When it comes to impressive feats, it's tough to top the guy in Australia who set a record this year for the most arrows caught by hand -- 33 in two minutes at a distance of 26 feet -- but consider the following:

Friday morning, from a distance of 2,400 miles (Washington Mutual's headquarters in Seattle to Brooklyn, N.Y.), the company successfully opened its 2,000th retail banking store in what's believed (by the company at least) to be a record time of 1.47 seconds -- the amount of time it took for the ribbon to be cut and hit the floor.

"It probably won't land us in the book of Guinness World Records, but it's still a feat we're tremendously proud of, especially when you consider how we've grown from a little over 1,000 retail banking stores just five years ago," said Michael Amato, president of retail banking distribution at Washington Mutual.

The 2,000th store and newest addition to Washington Mutual's national franchise is located at 5015 Church Ave., East Flatbush in Brooklyn, N.Y. The store's opening was commemorated with that (possibly) record-setting ribbon-cutting and a grant presentation to a local non-profit community organization.

Washington Mutual, the consumer friendly bank

"The New York market was the perfect place for us to open this milestone store," said Amato. "What we heard when we entered the market there in 2002 through the Dime Bancorp acquisition was perfectly in tune with what we hear wherever we go -- people want to do their banking in a welcome environment with friendly people. That's why everyday customers everywhere are so receptive to our unique style of banking."

A legacy of shaping the banking industry

Amato added, "Over the years, we've built a legacy of shaping the way financial institutions serve their customers -- whether it's the good deal we provide with our products or the more retail-like environment of our stores."

Washington Mutual is widely recognized as the industry leader in the national revival of retail bank branching. For example, Washington Mutual was one of the first financial institutions in the United States to introduce over a decade ago free checking with no direct deposit or minimum balance requirements to avoid a monthly fee among other free benefits. Since then, the company has added additional products and services customers can choose including free Personal Online Banking with Bill Pay(TM) service and Free Identity Theft Services.

Washington Mutual complements its products and services with its distinctive service culture and its award-winning retail store design -- which is warm and inviting and more reminiscent of a top-notch retailer than a financial institution. The company was named the "Best Retail Bank -- Americas" in the Lafferty International Retail Banking Award announced in November 2003. Last summer, the company received a U.S. patent for its retail banking concept, the first one issued to describe a full-service branch concept.

"By focusing on serving the huge market of middle market consumers and small businesses, we're creating a unique national franchise well positioned for growth," said Amato.

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 June 30, 2005, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had assets of $323.53 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.

SOURCE: Washington Mutual

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