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WaFd Bank sign on a brick wall
WaFd Bank sign on a brick wall
WaFd Bank sign on a brick wall
WaFd Bank sign on a brick wall
WaFd Bank sign on a brick wall
WaFd Bank sign on a brick wall
WaFd Bank sign on a brick wall
WaFd Bank Company History

Company History

On April 13 of 1917, just a week after the United States declared war against Germany, a small group of business owners in Ballard - a fishing and lumbering community a few miles north of Seattle - founded what was to become WaFd Bank. Their objective was to provide a source of funding for home loans for this rapidly growing community, and to help their neighbors build a safe and secure financial future. Back then, the average worker was earning just $5 a day so saving up to buy a home could seem a nearly impossible goal. Today, over 100 years later, WaFd Bank honors these roots with our mission to strengthen communities and the financial well-being of our clients.

WaFd, Inc. (“Company” or “Washington Federal”) is a bank holding company headquartered in Seattle, Washington that conducts its operations through a federally insured bank subsidiary. Its subsidiary is Washington Federal Bank, doing business as WaFd Bank (“WaFd Bank” or “Bank”), which operates in over 200 offices in eight western states. The Company had its origin on April 24, 1917, as Ballard Savings and Loan Association. In 1935, the state-chartered Bank converted to a federal charter, became a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank system and obtained federal deposit insurance. On November 9, 1982, the Company converted from a federal mutual to a federal stock association. In 1995, the stockholders approved a reorganization whereby the Bank became a wholly owned subsidiary of a newly formed holding company, WaFd, Inc. Then in 2013, the Bank converted from a thrift charter to a national bank charter, and in 2021, switched from a Federal charter to a Washington state charter.

WaFd Bank obtains its funds primarily through deposits from the general public, repayments of loans, borrowings and retained earnings. These funds are used largely to make loans to individuals and businesses, including loans for the purchase of new and existing homes, construction and land loans, commercial real estate loans, and commercial and industrial loans.

The company grew via acquisitions, starting in 1958, when then Ballard Federal Savings and Loan Association merged with Washington Federal Savings and Loan Association of Bothell, and the latter name was retained for wider geographical acceptance. Here is a list of additional bank acquisitions:

  • 1971 - Seattle Federal Savings and Loan Association.
  • 1978 - First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Mount Vernon.
  • 1987 - United First Federal, Provident Federal Savings and Loan, and Northwest Federal Savings and Loan, all headquartered in Boise, Idaho.
  • 1988 - Freedom Federal Savings and Loan Association in Corvallis, Oregon.
  • 1990 - Family Federal Savings in Oregon.
  • 1991 - First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and the deposits of First Western Savings Association of Las Vegas, Nevada, in Portland and Eugene, Oregon, doing business as Metropolitan Savings Association.
  • 1993 - First Federal Savings Bank of Utah.
  • 1995 - West Coast Mutual Savings Bank.
  • 1996 - Metropolitan Bancorp of Seattle.
  • 2003 - United Savings and Loan Bank in Seattle.
  • 2007 - First Federal Bank of the Southwest, Inc., the holding company for First Federal Bank located in Roswell, New Mexico.
  • 2008 - Mutual Bancshares, Inc., the holding company for First Mutual Bank in Washington.
  • 2010 - Horizon Bank in Bellingham, Washington, from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”), as receiver for Horizon Bank.
  • 2011 - 6 branch locations from Charter Bank of New Mexico.
  • 2011 - Western National Bank in Phoenix, Arizona in an FDIC-assisted transaction.
  • 2012 - South Valley Bancorp, Inc., the holding company for South Valley Bank & Trust (“SVBT”) headquartered in Oregon.
  • 2014 - 74 branch locations from Bank of America, National Association.
  • 2024 - Luther Burbank Corporation in California, the holding company for Luther Burbank Savings.