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Senior JPMorgan Chase Lawyer Leaves for Union Bank

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By Maria Aspan

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is losing one of its top lawyers as its legal and regulatory troubles continue to mount.

Michael Coyne, co-head of litigation for JPMorgan, is leaving the country's largest bank for a smaller competitor. He will become senior executive vice president and general counsel at Union Bank, a San Francisco unit of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, the company said Monday.

Coyne is the latest in a long list of senior executive departures at JPMorgan Chase, which is facing a slew of government investigations, lawsuits and ongoing scrutiny over its leadership and risk management. The bank this month estimated that its legal troubles could cost it up to $6.8 billion beyond its existing reserves, according to a regulatory filing.

JPMorgan and Chief Executive Jamie Dimon have been under heightened scrutiny since early 2012, when the now-infamous London Whale rogue trader cost the bank more than $6 billion. Since then, Dimon has replaced several of his top lieutenants and lost several other senior executives. Coyne, who spent 21 years at JPMorgan and its predecessor companies, is joining a list of departures this year that also includes co-chief operating officer Frank Bisignano, former chief information officer Guy Chiarello and former head of consumer banking Ryan McInerney.

As regulators investigate JPMorgan operations ranging from its commodities trading to its hiring practices in China, Coyne is leaving for a company that has garnered some more positive attention in recent months. UnionBankCal Corp., with $102.3 billion in assets and 422 U.S. branches, has the best reputation among its customers, according to this summer's annual American Banker Magazine/Reputation Institute Survey of Bank Reputations.

But Coyne, who will also serve on the executive committee making policy for Bank of Toyko-Mitsubishi in the Americas, may not be able to completely avoid future dealings with regulators. In June, the Japanese parent company agreed to pay $250 million to settle New York regulators' allegations that it processed thousands of transactions involving countries under U.S. sanctions such as Iran.

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