Washington Mutual Frees Chicago From $1.50 ATM Surcharge

Washington Mutual Frees Chicago From $1.50 ATM Surcharge

Company doubles its stores with 32 new Chicagoland locations, kicks off advertising blitz and brings surcharge-free ATMs to downtown Chicago


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Chicago, IL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–August 25, 2003–Washington Mutual today gave
back the buck-fifty to more than 1,000 fee-weary consumers, marking the arrival
of surcharge-free ATMs in downtown Chicago.  Coin purses containing $1.50
were handed out in the Loop as the bank, joined by Congressman Luis Gutierrez
and State Representative John Fritchey, announced 32 new retail banking stores
across Chicagoland, hundreds of new jobs, and the start of an extensive advertising
campaign.  The company has now opened 60 stores in just two months.

For years, consumers and Chicago leaders have called for an end to the ATM
surcharge fee, only to be stymied by court decisions and big commercial banks. 
According to a Federal Reserve study released in June, 89% of all banks now
surcharge non-customer ATM users.  Washington Mutual is the only major
bank with a no-surcharge policy, so anyone can use their ATMs without being

“Consumers are tired of being nickel-and-dimed by banks, so we’re
saying the buck-fifty stops here,” said Tony Manisco, senior vice president
and group manager for Washington Mutual retail banking in Illinois.  “We’ve
opened 60 locations in Chicagoland since mid-June with ten more to come by year-end,
so it’s getting easier for people to find a safe haven from nuisance fees
other banks are so fond of.”

“Too often consumers pay unnecessary fees just to access their money,”
said Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who is a member of the U.S. House of
Representatives Financial Services Committee.  “Washington Mutual
is doing the right thing for overcharged consumers by allowing everyone to use
their ATMs without the typical surcharge.”

Most banks charge a surcharge fee—usually in the range of $1.50 to $2.00—to
non-customers who use their ATMs.  Washington Mutual is announcing surcharge-free
ATMs at all of its Chicagoland locations.  A person accessing a non-Washington
Mutual account at a Washington Mutual ATM may still be charged a fee by their
own bank. 

Also today, Washington Mutual launched a major mass advertising campaign in
Chicago, including hundreds of television spots, thousands of radio ads, hundreds
of print placements and more than a thousand out of home units.  The campaign
will reach all areas of Chicagoland via mass market, local and ethnic media
– including specific campaigns for Chicago’s African-American and Hispanic
communities.  The campaign, scheduled to run through November, promotes
WaMu’s Free Checking and surcharge-free ATMs.  The campaign also features
a fleet of London Cabs offering customers and non-customers “free rides
to the home of Free Checking.”

“Our advertising will reach Chicagoans with a loud and clear message –
there’s a new way to bank in town,” said Brad Davis, executive vice
president of marketing and brand management for retail banking at Washington
Mutual.  “We are a consumer-focused company and we’re pretty
sure there’s no rule that says bankers can’t smile and maybe even
have a little bit of fun.  That comes through in our humor and our very
un-banklike approach to advertising.”

With the opening of 32 additional retail banking stores throughout the metropolitan
area, including four stores in downtown Chicago, WaMu will add more than 200
jobs to the thousands it already employs in banking and mortgage operations. 
The first wave of 28 stores launched on June 23.  WaMu expects to have
at least 70 stores operating in the Chicagoland area by the end of the year.

Washington Mutual financial stores opened today at the following locations:

1226 S. Canal St.              
214 E. Geneva Rd.

1811 W. North Ave.             
241 Rice Lake Sq.

206 N. Michigan Ave.           
62 Ogden Ave.
Downers Grove

311 S. Wacker Dr.              
7317 S. Lemont Rd.
Downers Grove

609 W. North Ave.              
149 N. Weber Rd.

555 W. Monroe St.              
1236 S. Naper Blvd.

200 W. Randolph St.            
1047 S. Roselle Rd.

712 E. 87th St.                
527 E. Roosevelt Rd.

3252 N. Lincoln Ave.           
741 E. Boughton Rd.

4113 N. Harlem Ave.            
2217 Route 59

305 Waukegan Rd.               
3036 Wolf Rd.
Lake Bluff                     

1539 Lake St.                  
7700 Broadview Village Sq.

2757 Pfingsten Rd.             
3080 Caton Farm Rd.

7145 Central Ave.              
17735 Halsted St.
Skokie                          Homewood

23 S. Northwest Hwy.           
16801 Torrence Ave.
Park Ridge                     

500 N. Milwaukee Ave.          
2428 W. Lincoln Hwy.
Olympia Fields

About Washington Mutual

With a history dating back to 1889, Washington Mutual (NYSE: WM) is a retailer
of financial services that provides a diversified line of products and services
to consumers and small businesses. At June 30, 2003, Washington Mutual and its
subsidiaries had assets of $283.20 billion. Washington Mutual currently operates
more than 2,650 consumer banking, mortgage lending, commercial banking, consumer
finance and financial services offices throughout the nation. Washington Mutual’s
press releases are available at http://www.wamu.com.


Tara Williams
Washington Mutual
P: 973-280-1976
Marci May
Jasculca/Terman and Associates, Inc.
P: 312-573-5464

Washington Mutual Frees Chicago From $1.50 ATM Surcharge