It may be just a bargaining ploy, but Kerry K. Killinger, chairman of the acquisitive Washington Mutual Inc., says he's not interested in buying thrifts whose main selling point is that they operate in the same areas as Washington Mutual.

In an interview with American Banker, Mr. Killinger appeared to throw cold water on investor hopes that Washington Mutual will buy H.F. Ahmanson & Co.-its rival in the bitter contest for Great Western Financial this spring.

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