SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 16, 2006--In a move to provide
greater payment flexibility to consumers, Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM)
is introducing a new enhancement to its WaMu Equity Plus(TM) account.
The new feature gives customers with a home equity line of credit the
option to pay interest only on the fixed rate portion, rather than the
usual minimum payment of principal and interest.
"This new feature gives consumers greater control in managing
their monthly payments and cash flow, allowing them to adapt to
various life and financial needs," said Jennifer Myhre, Washington
Mutual senior vice president of consumer lending. "The WaMu Equity
Plus(TM) account and this new enhancement combine the flexibility of a
line of credit with the stability of a fixed-rate loan. To our
knowledge it is the most flexible product like it available on the
market, and we are making it available to both new customers and
existing customers who already have a WaMu Equity Plus(TM) account
The new feature allows customers to choose a three-, five-, seven-
or 10-year fixed term with a fixed interest rate and make interest
only monthly payments. At maturity of the fixed period, the balance
automatically converts to the variable line with a minimum payment of
interest only. Customers can then leave the balance on the variable
line or convert to another fixed-rate loan option at current rates.
New enhancement makes a great product even better
"Ultimately, our WaMu Equity Plus(TM) account along with this new
feature gives customers more payment options than ever before, which
is especially useful in today's changing interest rate environment,"
added Myhre. Furthermore, borrowers can finance up to 89.9 percent of
the value of their home with a maximum loan amount of $750,000.
Borrowers may exercise up to two fixed-rate loan options on their
WaMu Equity Plus(TM) account within the calendar year, with up to five
outstanding -- although customers can only have one interest only
option at any given time. A combined monthly statement summarizes the
credit line and any fixed-rate loan options. Furthermore, the process
is streamlined and borrowers do not need to reapply in order to tap
into their home equity. Likewise, the fee to set up a fixed-rate
option is only $50, although the first one is free and there is no fee
if a borrower is moving a fixed rate loan amount back to the variable
line of credit.
About Washington Mutual
Washington Mutual is one of the nation's leading consumer and
small business banks. At March 31, 2006, Washington Mutual and its
subsidiaries had assets of $348.67 billion. The company was
established in 1889 and currently operates more than 2,600 consumer
and small business banking stores throughout the nation. Washington
Mutual's press releases are available at www.wamunewsroom.com.
CONTACT: Washington Mutual
Mary Kelley, 206-377-6878 (Media)
Alan Magleby, 212-326-6019 (Investor Relations)
SOURCE: Washington Mutual