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Washington Mutual wins 2003 CRA Community Impact Award

Washington Mutual wins 2003 CRA Community Impact Award

Published 11-04-03

Submitted by Washington Mutual, Inc.

SEATTLE, WA - The Washington Mutual Community Access program was today honored with this year's CRA Community Impact Award at the 2003 CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium in Atlanta. The national award recognizes financial institutions that have been instrumental in developing, implementing or maintaining innovative community development programs that support the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Award recipients are chosen by a judging panel comprised of representatives from financial institutions and community organizations.

Washington Mutual's Community Access program is a combination of loan products and services that make it easier for low- to moderate-income (LMI) borrowers to achieve homeownership. The program, launched in 2002, combines a flexible menu of loan products that can be personalized to meet the unique financial needs of customers, even when their loan may fall outside typical credit, income or debt constraints. Last year, more than 5,000 loans totaling more than $795 million were originated.

First-time homebuyer Calvin McClendon of McDonough, Georgia received one of those loans. With no established credit and very little money available for a down payment, McClendon didn't think he could qualify for a mortgage loan. The single father of two enrolled in a Washington Mutual-sponsored financial education program at a local community organization and began focusing on saving for a down payment and preparing for homeownership. Once he completed the program, the bank offered McClendon a low-fee loan through the Community Access program.

"We're proud to offer products and services that help people learn about managing their finances so they can achieve their goal of homeownership," said Reza Aghamirzadeh, senior vice president and manager of Washington Mutual's Community Performance Resources department. "The Community Access program really expands homeownership opportunities for under-served communities and families of modest means."

Housing issues have long been important to Washington Mutual. The company was founded more than 100 years ago to help its neighbors in Seattle rebuild after a devastating fire swept through the city.

Today, as one of the nation's leading mortgage lenders, putting people in homes remains a top priority.

This priority extends to the company's community commitment. In 2002, Washington Mutual announced a 10-year, $375 billion lending and investment commitment to make the American dream of owning a home a reality for more LMI individuals and families. Washington Mutual's Community Access program is a driving force in achieving this goal.

Washington Mutual's support for housing also extends to its charitable giving. Across the nation, the company partners with large and small nonprofit groups who help people get into homes or improve them. In 2002, the company provided nearly 700 cash grants totaling more than $16 million to nonprofit housing partners, ranging from local, grass-roots organizations to national partners such as the Enterprise Foundation and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC).

About the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)

In 1977, Congress enacted the Community Reinvestment Act to help ensure that federally insured banks and thrifts meet the banking and credit needs of the communities they serve, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Financial institutions must undergo regulatory exams and are rated on how well they meet federal CRA guidelines.

About the CRA & Fair Lending Colloquium

Now in its seventh year, the Colloquium has evolved to become an annual meeting ground for senior compliance executives to participate in strategic discussions regarding CRA, fair lending, and housing. For more information, visit

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 small businesses. At September 30, 2003, Washington Mutual and its subsidiaries had consolidated assets of $286.72 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates more than 2,700 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer finance and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual's press releases are available at

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