SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 31, 2006--Washington Mutual was
recently ranked No. 1 for bank Web sites by Change Sciences Group, an
online customer experience research and consulting company. The study
evaluates more than 40 leading bank sites based on what people
experience as they find a checking account that meets their needs and
then apply for it online.
"Convenience and simplicity are increasingly important to
customers, who want to do their banking in a variety of ways --
whether it's at one of our retail banking stores, via the telephone,
at an ATM, or via online," said Steve Rotella, president and chief
operating officer at Washington Mutual. "What's valuable for us is
that the ranking is based on the experiences people have had with us
and how they think we're doing. It tells me that we are continuing to
be successful in our efforts to innovate and make banking even more
Earlier this month, Washington Mutual enhanced its online channel
with a paperless account opening process in support of the new WaMu
Free Checking(TM) account. Accounts can be opened in minutes at
"www.wamu.com" with online approval and authentication technology that
eliminates the need to mail a traditional signature card. Instead, the
customer uses a special check that is included with the first order of
checks and then when the bank processes that check, it uses the
signature on that check as a sample for future processing.
Banks Have Worked Hard to Create a Kinder, Friendlier Experience
Steve Ellis, a Change Sciences partner, said, "Most people see
banking as drudgery. The best banks are working hard to create a
kinder, friendlier experience online -- and Washington Mutual has
pulled ahead of the others in doing this."
In addition to the new streamlined online account opening process,
the WaMu Free Checking(TM) account provides an unprecedented bundle of
free features, added Rotella. The new WaMu Free Checking(TM) account
offers all the features of WaMu's original Free Checking account plus:
free ATM cash withdrawals, a free overdraft or insufficient funds fee
wavier each year, free checks for life, cash back for debit card
purchases, free outbound wires, free low-balance alerts with online
banking and more (see below for more account information).
"When you add it all up, the value of the new free checking
account combined with the convenience of opening it entirely online
clearly sets a new standard in banking," stated Rotella.
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.
More information about the WaMu Free Checking account:
-- Free ATM Cash Withdrawals -- Washington Mutual will not charge
for withdrawals from this account at non-Washington Mutual
ATMs anywhere in the world (non-refundable ATM operator and
foreign currency exchange and transaction fees may apply).
-- Free Checks for Life -- Customers ordering their checks
through Washington Mutual can get them for free; select styles
-- Free Gold Debit MasterCard(R) with Rewards -- The account
comes with a Gold Debit MasterCard(R) and Washington Mutual
will give a reward (currently $0.03) for each Debit MasterCard
purchase transaction (PIN or signature based) during the prior
year up to a total annual reward of $250 if the account is
open and in good standing on the anniversary date.
-- Free Outgoing Wire Transfers -- Washington Mutual will not
charge for outbound international or domestic wire transfers
(non-refundable foreign currency exchange charges and
intermediary and beneficiary bank fees may apply).
-- Minimum balance to open is $1. Features not available for Free
Checking accounts opened prior to 3/11/06. Deposits at
Washington Mutual Bank and Washington Mutual Bank fsb are FDIC
insured to $100,000.
CONTACT: Washington Mutual, Seattle
Mary Kelley, 206-377-6878 (Media)
Alan Magleby, 212-326-6019 (Investors)
SOURCE: Washington Mutual