NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Top bank executives sought to characterize the "robosigning" issue as a minor blip in recent days - even though it's resulted in investigations by state and federal government and the delay of hundreds of thousands of foreclosures.

The mortgage industry is dominated by a handful of large servicers. Bank of America ( BAC), Wells Fargo ( WFC), JPMorgan Chase ( JPM), Citigroup ( C) and GMAC Mortgage are the biggest players; combined with a handful of regional servicers like U.S. Bancorp ( USB) and PNC Financial Services ( PNC), they leave a slim margin for others to compete.

The tidal wave of foreclosure filings has incentivized those firms to push defaulted borrowers through the system as quickly as possible. In what appears to be a systemic issue, employees and outside contractors had signed off on thousands of documents under oath without verifying all the information within properly.

This so-called "robosigning" issue erupted earlier this month, when Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray filed suit against GMAC Mortgage, seeking $25,000 for each faulty foreclosure document, along with undefined restitution for affected consumers. Eventually, all 50 attorneys general combined forces to investigate the situation, as did the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Several big servicers implemented foreclosure freezes or began detailed reviews of processes and paperwork to ensure they were in compliance.

During third-quarter conference calls over the past two weeks, top executives provided some clarity on the "robosigning" situation - where things stand, how exposed they are to the issue and how long it will take for investigations to get cleared up:

>>>1. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan

>>>2. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

>>>3. PNC Financial Services CEO Jim Rohr

>>>4. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf

>>>5. Citigroup CFO John Gerspach

>>>6. U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis

>>>7. Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar

>>>8. Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat

Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan: "I don't think the technical issue is as big a deal. The issue of foreclosure is a big deal, and the issue is we have to get on with it because it will restore the health in the market."

Bank of America halted foreclosure proceedings entirely a couple of weeks ago. The bank is in the process of working through roughly 102,000 documents with potential errors. Bank of America will restart proceedings in 23 "judicial" states on Monday after fixing paperwork errors in those jurisdictions.

During a conference call on Tuesday, Moynihan said that most of the problems were minor technical issues. He noted that 33% of the properties foreclosed upon during the third quarter were vacant; 80% of the borrowers hadn't made a mortgage payment in a year or more; and half of them were out of work or income.

>>>Next: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

>>>3. PNC Financial Services CEO Jim Rohr

>>>4. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf

>>>5. Citigroup CFO John Gerspach

>>>6. U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis

>>>7. Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar

>>>8. Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon: "It's not up to me."

JPMorgan Chase is another big bank that halted foreclosure sales, but only in the 23 judicial states of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

JPMorgan is in the process of reviewing 115,000 documents for evidence of "robosigning." CFO Doug Braunstein said on Oct. 13 that "there are circumstances where affidavits have not been properly notarized." While he didn't shrug off the documentation errors, he did point out that it takes JPMorgan 14 months, on average, to complete a foreclosure sale from the time a borrower first defaults. In some states, it takes over two years and "in most, if not all instances, over that period of time no principal or interest payments have been made on the mortgage," he said.

Dimon indicated that it will take "several weeks" just to go through the files, then additional time to work with attorneys general to reach a resolution.

When asked during the conference call whether the situation can be resolved quickly, he responded: "I hope so. It's not up to me" adding that "it will be a real shame if we don't get this resolved and moving again."

>>>Next: PNC Financial Services CEO Jim Rohr

>>>4. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf

>>>5. Citigroup CFO John Gerspach

>>>6. U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis

>>>7. Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar

>>>8. Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat

>>>1. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan

PNC Financial Services CEO Jim Rohr: "We are holding off pursuing individual pending foreclosures until we are confident that any documentation issues have been fixed."

PNC is one of the servicers that implemented a freeze, but it's a relatively small player in the mortgage-servicing market. Rohr noted that PNC's market share is just 2%. He also pointed out that the average homeowner being foreclosed upon hasn't made a mortgage payment in over a year.

Nonetheless, PNC's situation shows just how pervasive the culture of "robosigning" has been within the banking industry. "Like a number of other banks," Rohr acknowledged, "we've identified issues with respect to some of the documentation."

>>>Next: Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf

>>>5. Citigroup CFO John Gerspach

>>>6. U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis

>>>7. Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar

>>>8. Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat

>>>1. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan

>>>2. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf: "We did not and do not plan to initiate a foreclosure moratorium."

Wells Fargo hasn't been shielded from scrutiny over its foreclosure practices, but has said repeatedly that it does everything above-board - from delinquency notices to workout attempts to signatures on the foreclosure documents. Wells has staunchly rejected the idea that it should implement foreclosure freezes like other big bank competitors have.

During a conference call on Wednesday, CFO Howard Atkins indicated that Wells has been more careful than competitors in handling foreclosures: "Our process specifies that affidavit signers and reviewers are the same team member, not different people, and affidavits are properly notarized. Not all banks in our understanding do it this way."

Stumpf was asked about a case that's received widespread attention in which a Wells employee admitted to signing off on paperwork that others had reviewed in a court deposition. Stumpf pointed out that the judge still found in Wells Fargo's favor and suggested that one bad apple hadn't infected the entire tree: "Humans do make errors, but that is what our process is - one reviewer, one signer, same person."

>>>Next: Citigroup CFO John Gerspach

>>>6. U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis

>>>7. Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar

>>>8. Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat

>>>1. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan

>>>2. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

>>>3. PNC Financial Services CEO Jim Rohr

Citigroup CFO John Gerspach: "We have intensified our ongoing process reviews."

Citi is a big mortgage servicer, but not quite as big as its peers - particularly after winding down or selling toxic mortgage holdings at its "bad bank" Citi Holdings division. As a result, it has faced less attention than BofA, GMAC or JPMorgan.

On Monday, Gerspach reiterated that "the integrity of Citi's foreclosure process is sound." Although the bank uses external attorneys to prepare foreclosure documents, a Citi employee then reviews the paperwork before signing off. If errors are found, the documents are returned to the lawyer for revisions.

Although Citi hasn't implemented any foreclosure freeze, Gerspach said it has "intensified our ongoing process reviews and on that basis have not identified any systemic issues."

>>>Next: U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis

>>>7. Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar

>>>8. Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat

>>>1. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan

>>>2. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

>>>3. PNC Financial Services CEO Jim Rohr

>>>4. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf

U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis: "Any blanket foreclosure moratorium would seriously impair the national economic recovery."

While U.S. Bancorp has taken a closer look at its foreclosure practices, Davis indicated that the large, regional lender is in a different class than huge money-center competitors at the crux of the "robosigning" scandal.

Davis said the bank follows "well-established safeguards," with individuals and committees reviewing foreclosure documents. Management also "routinely" reviews processes on a macro level. The CEO said U.S. Bancorp will comply with any requests from government officials - who have cast a wide net in investigating the issue - but he doesn't seem to think there will be any issues.

"We do not, however, have plans to halt foreclosures," he added, "and we believe that any blanket foreclosure moratorium would seriously impair the national economic recovery."

>>>Next: Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar

>>>8. Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat

>>>1. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan

>>>2. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

>>>3. PNC Financial Services CEO Jim Rohr

>>>4. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf

>>>5. Citigroup CFO John Gerspach

Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar: "Litton has initiated an extensive review of its foreclosure procedures. While certain process issues were identified as part of the review to date, Litton believes the underlying foreclosure decisions were warranted."

While Goldman has received a lot of attention for its questionable practices in packaging and selling mortgage derivatives, it also owns a subprime loan servicing shop called Litton Loan Servicing.

It's a small player compared with the likes of Bank of America or Wells Fargo. Yet Litton now has 23,000 loans in the foreclosure process, some of which have been found to have "robosigning" issues.

Viniar said Litton has begun an "extensive review" of foreclosure documents and did identify some problems. Yet, like other industry executives, he held fast to the notion that the foreclosure was warranted, even if there were minor technical issues.

>>>Next: Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat

>>>1. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan

>>>2. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

>>>3. PNC Financial Services CEO Jim Rohr

>>>4. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf

>>>5. Citigroup CFO John Gerspach

>>>6. U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis

Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat: "There's really no update that we have."

The other investment banking giant, Morgan Stanley, also has a small servicing shop called Saxon Mortgage. But on the company's conference call Wednesday, analysts and executives were more focused on issues that brought Morgan Stanley's profit down sharply during the third quarter.

When asked about Morgan Stanley's exposure to litigation as a servicer, originator and securitizer, Porat gave a relatively terse response. Since the company is a defendant in litigation regarding mortgage derivatives, she advised interested parties to take a look at the "legal proceedings" portion of Morgan Stanley's most recent financial filings.

"We don't comment on individual litigation unless we have included their materials at the firm or disclosures are otherwise required or meaningful," she said. "So I think at this point, you know, there's really no update that we have."

>>>1. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan

>>>2. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon

>>>3. PNC Financial Services CEO Jim Rohr

>>>4. Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf

>>>5. Citigroup CFO John Gerspach

>>>6. U.S. Bancorp CEO Richard Davis

>>>7. Goldman Sachs CFO David Viniar

>>>8. Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat

-- Written by Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York.

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