A centennial anniversary is usally a time for reflection on past accomplishments. But for Washington Federal Savings and Loan Association, the passing of the 100-year mark in business is a time for looking ahead.

"The entire S&L environment has been changing and on our 100th birthday we will continue the same position we have taken over the last five years," said president James L. Harris. During that time, Washington Federal has moved increasingly into mortgage banking and into financing low-income housing development projects.

To keep pace with the changing needs of consumers, Washington Federal has introduced such innovations as SaveSystem, a rebate program that has almost 60,000 accounts in the Washington area.

"Savings and loans are changing and you have to get into joint ventures and mortage banking and aggressively market your product," said Harris. "You have to change the whole image of S&L."

Washington Federal currently is servicing $350 million in loans. The association showed a profit of $790,000 for the six months ending Dec. 31, 1980, and currently has assets of more than $400 million. Total savings accounts number almost 60,000 compared with 44,380 at the end of December 1979.

"Not bad for a little association," Harris said.

Harris said that Washington Federal plans more aggressive marketing for its NOW accounts, which currently total about $1 million. The association also is making a bit to purchase County Federal Savings and Loan, which would be its first acquisition.

Washington Federal was founded in 1881 as the Washington Six Percent Building Association and had as its offices a single room over a hardware store at 7th and K streets NW.

Washington Federal now has 10 offices in the District and is preparing to open two more. It also has a vacant office in Bethesda ready in the event that Congress approves legislation allowing interstate branching.