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Safeco To Purchase Bank Subsidiary

Safeco Corp. will acquire Washington Mutual Inc.’s insurance underwriting subsidiary, and Washington Mutual will distribute Safeco’s annuities through its banking networks, the companies said Wednesday.

Safeco’s acquisition of the WM Life Insurance Co. subsidiary for $140 million is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter. It will become a subsidiary of Safeco Life Insurance Co., based in Redmond.

The agreement has been approved by the boards of both companies, but still needs approval of state insurance regulators and federal antitrust regulators.

Safeco, a Seattle-based financial services and insurance company, had 1996 net income of $438.9 million.

Washington Mutual, also based in Seattle, is the nation’s largest savings and loan company, with 1996 net income of $114.2 million and assets of $44.55 billion at the end of 1996. It July, it bought Great Western Financial Corp. for $8 billion.