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Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Top Dimon Aide Announces Ouster of Chase Mortgage Head

David Lowman
Scott J. Ferell | CQ-Roll Call Group | Getty Images

The former head of the mortgage business at JP Morgan Chase has been shown the door.

"Dave Lowman and I have decided he will leave the firm," Frank Bisignano, the head of home-lending, said today in an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

Five months ago, Lowman was essentially demoted when Bisignano was appointed to run the mortgage business. Lowman, who had headed the home-lending business since coming to JPMorgan from Citigroup , was allowed to keep his title but had to report to Bisignano, who is the bank's chief administrative officer.

It was likely expected that Lowman would resign at the time. It’s rare that senior executives at banks accept having someone installed above them. The rough language of the memo — "Dave Lowman and I have decided" rather than "Dave Lowman has decided" — make it clear that Bisignano ousted Lowman.

Bisignano has long been one of Jamie Dimon’s closest aides. They worked together under Sanford Weil at Citi. Later, when Dimon was head of Capitol One, Dimon tried to hire Bisgnano but Weil — in what some say was a fit of spite — kept him from leaving by offering a $15 million pay package. Bisignano eventually joined Dimon when Bank One merged with JP Morgan Chase.

After Dimon was mailed a threatening letter containing an unidentified white powder in October 2008, Bisignano took the lead in tracking down the source of the letters. "We’re going to nail this guy," he told Dimon. A few months later, Bisignano’s team tracked down the source of the letters — allegedly a man in Albuquerque who had been a Washington Mutual shareholder — and turned the evidence over to the U.S. Justice Department.

JPMorgan's mortgage unit saw a $3.3 billion loss in the first quarter. In April, JPMorgan reached a settlement on claims that it had overcharged military personnel on their mortgages and seized the homes of active military personnel deployed abroad. Dimon publicly apologized at the annual shareholder meeting in May.

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