Washington Mutual Names Lending Exec

Washington Mutual named Bettye L. Wilkes first vice president and manager of its community lending and investments department. Wilkes will oversee Washington Mutual's community lending, equity and tax investment programs. She previously served as a community investment manager for the company, and worked for the city of Los Angeles in its Community Development Department and with the Mayor's Office of Economic Development.

* Len York has been appointed chief financial officer of Precision Specialty Metals Inc., a Los Angeles-based stainless steel and high-performance-alloy conversion mill. York was formerly a principal in Osnos & Co., a management consulting firm with offices in Charlotte, N.C., and New York. He also served as chief executive of Bayamon Steel Co. of Puerto Rico, directing the service center's distribution of carbon steel.

* Land use and real estate lawyers Christopher M. Harding, Kenneth L. Kutcher and Kevin V. Kozal have joined real estate finance lawyer Thomas R. Larmore to form Harding, Larmore, Kutcher & Kozal, a Santa Monica-based firm offering diversified real estate services. The firm will serve property owners, developers and other business clients in land use and transactional matters, and will specialize in representing institutional lenders in all types of real estate financing.

* Pasadena-based PAULA Financial named Carlos Palau vice president of its life and health insurance underwriting subsidiary PAULA Assurance Co.

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