Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to mortgage underwriting. Earnings reports from smaller regional banks Tuesday mostly tell the same troubled tale of writedowns and declines that their larger brethren have recounted. The future for the banking industry continues to look grim after lending standards tightened this summer, spreading delinquency and defaults to higher quality loans. At the extremes, the carnage at more aggressive underwriter KeyCorp ( KEY) was a sharp contrast to U.S. Bancorp's ( USB) conservative underwriting standards, which now serves to make the Minneapolis-based bank a safe haven stock. Worst in show, KeyCorp fell to a fresh 52-week low after the bank reported that profit plummeted 33% from a year earlier to $210 million, or 57 cents a share. The culprits were credit losses in residential real estate and writedowns in its trading business. The stock dropped $1.85, or 6%, to $30.50. Cleveland-based Key's nonperforming assets jumped 75%, and its total loans charged off were $59 million, up 37% from the year-ago quarter. The bank also ended up booking $77 million in net losses due to writedowns and losses related to commercial real estate loans held for sale, dealer trading and derivatives and other investments, it said. U.S. Bancorp, on the other hand, beat analysts' earnings estimates by a penny, reporting earnings of 67 cents a share on $1.17 billion. Its nonperforming assets rose just 14% to $641 million from "stress" in residential mortgage lending and other real estate assets, such as foreclosed properties, it said. It had writedowns totaling $21 million -- about 1 cent a share.