Credit cards tone down this lender’s risk

Article Excerpt

WASHINGTON MUTUAL INC. $46 (New York symbol WM; Aggressive Growth Portfolio, Finance sector; WSSF Rating: Average) is the largest thrift in the United States, with over 2,600 offices. It offers a wide variety of banking services, including deposit and checking accounts, mortgages and business loans. Washington Mutual’s revenue grew from $18.3 billion in 2001 to $19.0 billion in 2002, partly due to an acquisition. Asset sales and slowing demand for mortgages cut revenue to $16.0 billion in 2004. Earnings rose from $3.59 a share (total $3.1 billion) in 2001 to $4.05 a share ($3.9 billion) in 2002. Income fell to $3.8 billion in 2003, but per-share earnings rose to $4.12 a share due to share buybacks. Earnings fell to $2.81 a share ($2.5 billion) in 2004. Acquisition cuts mortgage reliance In October 2005, Washington Mutual paid $6.1 billion in cash and stock for Providian Financial Corp., a leading credit card issuer. That pushed its revenue in 2005 up to $21.3 billion, and its income…

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