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RealTime IT News

Washington Mutual Goes Virtual

Washington Mutual Finance Corporation has teamed up with SF-based IT consulting firm Cotelligent to build an online counterpart to its brick-and-mortar operations by creating a 'virtual branch'.

The 'virtual branch' (online at WamuFinance.com) features loan calculators, a debt consolidation tool, the ability to apply for loans, the capability for online account inquiries and an online chat feature so customers can communicate directly with Washington Mutual Finance representatives.

Washington Mutual Finance's decision to go forward with its Virtual branch appears to be motivated by the bank's realization that it needs to establish a robust Web presence to remain competitive in the marketplace and to enhance the branch office relationship it has with its customers.

"With the creation of our Virtual Branch, we expect to expand our consumer loan business as well as offer fast and convenient service to our customers," says Fred Halfpap, Washington Mutual Finance's VP of Internet Marketing.

Although the bank is initially focusing on its loan services business, there are plans to add others lines of business in the near future.