JPMorgan names new mortgage banking chief

Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:35pm EST

JPMorgan Chase & Co's international headquarters are seen on Park Avenue in New York July 13, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Burton

JPMorgan Chase & Co's international headquarters are seen on Park Avenue in New York July 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Burton

(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) promoted Kevin Watters to be chief of its home loan business, relieving Co-Chief Operating Officer Frank Bisignano of the temporary assignment to clean up the lender's mortgage issues.

Watters, 44, had been responsible since 2010 for originating mortgages and now will also oversee mortgage servicing and problem loans and hold the title CEO of Mortgage Banking.

"This role is a natural expansion of his successful leadership of mortgage originations," Bisignano said in a statement from the company on Tuesday.

In February 2011, Bisignano was assigned by company CEO Jamie Dimon to run the mortgage business and fix problems stemming from bad loans made before housing prices collapsed.

JPMorgan has made more home loans this year than any other U.S. lender except Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N).

This year JPMorgan and other banks have been enjoying a surge of revenue from refinancing mortgage loans at lower interest rates engineered by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

"We will continue to see the refinancing business stay strong for the next couple of quarters as long as interest rates stay low," Watters said in an interview.

Watters said he expects that refinancing will taper off by the end of next year as demand builds for loans to purchase homes.

Watters will report to Gordon Smith, who at the end of this month will become sole CEO of Consumer & Community Banking over the retail branches, credit cards and mortgages.

Before Watters was put in charge of mortgage originations, he was head of business banking in the branch network for five years, according to the statement.

Watters has been with the company for 13 years and worked for Bank One, which JPMorgan acquired, on Internet banking services.

A native of Philadelphia, Watters said he got some of his early business experience working with the Crisco brand of shortening for Procter & Gamble Co (PG.N).

(Reporting by David Henry in New York; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Gunna Dickson.)