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Washington Mutual Enhances Home Equity Line of Credit Product to Provide Greater Payment Flexibility; Allows Consumers to Make Interest Only Payments on a Fixed-Rate Loan Option.

SEATTLE -- 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 with us."

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.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 16, 2006
Words:464
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