Reuters

(Reuters)

JPMorgan Home Lending Chief Dismissed

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JPMorgan Chase & Co has pushed out its head of home lending, David Lowman, who had been sidelined in February after the bank racked up billions of dollars in losses on mortgages and became mired in litigation over foreclosures.

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``Dave Lowman and I have decided he will leave the firm,'' Frank Bisignano, the bank's chief administrative officer, said in a memo that was sent to bank staff on Tuesday.

A copy of the memo was obtained by Reuters.

Lowman joined JPMorgan from Citigroup in 2006. During his tenure at JPMorgan, the bank picked up bad mortgage assets through its acquisitions of investment bank Bear Stearns & Co and retail bank Washington Mutual.

Lowman was pushed aside in February by JPMorgan's CEO, Jamie Dimon, who assigned his top aide, Bisignano, to the company's retail banking unit to fix its mortgage business.

During Lowman's tenure, the unit was so disorganized that the bank seized homes of at least 33 U.S. military servicemen on active duty, violating federal law and prompting Dimon to apologize at the company's annual shareholder meeting. The bank has said it is forgiving those loans.

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Lowman could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Lowman appeared before congressional committees last year where he was chastised for his division's refusal to cooperate with borrowers and modify mortgages. Lowman said in a June 2010 hearing that the bank was understaffed, but was adding employees to work on problematic mortgages. In a hearing in November, Lowman acknowledged mistakes in foreclosure paperwork and said the bank was cleaning up errors.

JPMorgan and other large banks are in negotiations with the Department of Justice and state attorneys general to settle probes into mistakes in foreclosures.

The bank recorded $1.1 billion in litigation expenses in the first quarter, primarily because of mortgage-related claims. It also marked down the value of its mortgage-servicing contracts by $1.1 billion because of increased costs and booked $1.1 billion of expenses for losses on its residential real estate portfolio. 

(Reporting by David Henry, editing by Maureen Bavdek and Matthew Lewis)