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Washington DFI Welcomes Washington Federal Bank's Conversion to a Washington Bank Charter

OLYMPIA – The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) welcomes Washington Federal Bank to the Washington State Commercial Bank Charter by conversion from a National Banking Association, effective Feb. 4, 2022. The bank was previously regulated by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

Washington Federal Bank was founded in 1917 as a state-chartered institution named Ballard Savings and Loan. The bank is headquartered in Seattle and does business as its long-known nickname WaFd Bank. Through its history, the bank has grown and currently operates 219 branches located throughout communities in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and Nevada. Newsweek named WaFd Bank “Best Large Bank of 2022” in Washington State.

“DFI is committed to supporting local and regional communities and fostering economic development and a competitive financial services marketplace, while providing strong regulatory oversight,” DFI Director Charlie Clark said. “We welcome WaFd Bank back to the Washington Charter.”

“The conversion of WaFd is a testament to the strength, effectiveness, and value of the state-chartered banking system. WaFd is a community-focused regional bank that has a very long history of providing banking solutions and investing in the growing number of communities across their broad footprint,” Roberta Hollinshead, DFI Director of Banks added. “DFI looks forward to working with the bank’s management team and board of directors to continue to promote safe and sound banking services to all of the communities in which they operate.”

“We are pleased to move forward as a commercial bank chartered here in the state of Washington, giving us the benefit of having our primary regulator nearby," WaFd Bank CEO Brent Beardall commented. “We believe that a local regulator with a direct understanding of many of our communities will be a pro-active partner in supporting the economic vitality of those communities. Our history has taught us that a bank can and should be a force for good in its communities and deliver a reasonable return for its shareholders.”

The last bank to convert to a Washington Charter was in 2021 when Riverview Community Bank of Vancouver, Washington, converted from a Federal Savings Bank to a Washington Commercial Bank.