Kerry Killinger, the chief executive officer of Washington Mutual Inc., brushed aside any skepticism about the thrift's expansion plans by unveiling stellar first-quarter results at the thrift's annual meeting.

Mr. Killinger said Tuesday that the $46.1 billion-asset company, which has grown fivefold in a few years and now is bidding to buy Great Western Financial Corp., is fast becoming one of the premier financial institutions in the West.

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