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Washington Mutual Profit Falls 20% But Beats Forecasts

Washington Mutual said Tuesday its first-quarter profits fell 20% amid a nationwide implosion of the subprime home loan market.

The nation's largest savings and loan company reported quarterly income of 86 cents a share, down from 98 cents reported a year ago. Quarterly revenue was $3.62 billion, up slightly from $3.59 billion in the same period last year.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were looking for earnings of 83 cents a share on revenue of $3.6 billion.

Kerry Killinger, Washington Mutual's chairman and chief executive, said in a release that the company's retail banking, card services and commercial groups fared well but the home loan market remained a serious challenge given problems in the subprime segment.

"Over the past 12 months, we have taken a number of prudent actions to reduce our exposure to the subprime mortgage industry," Killinger said in a statement. "These actions, along with a diversified business mix, limited our exposure to the mortgage market's downturn and position us well to expand and grow as market conditions improve."

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