Washington Mutual - in the midst of becoming one of California's biggest mortgage lenders through a megadeal to acquire American Savings Bank - is also about to become No. 1 in Utah.

The Seattle thrift said Monday that it had agreed to buy United Western Financial Group, a Salt Lake City-based lender with seven mortgage offices, including two in Utah. Washington Mutual agreed to pay $80.3 million in cash for the operation, made up of United Savings Bank and its Western Mortgage Loan subsidiary.

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