A panel of financial advisers and attorneys said the ongoing litigation between banks and their investors in soured mortgage-backed securities sold during the housing boom will not be resolved any time soon. The panel, conducted in collaboration with Bloomberg Television, consisted of various regulatory and dispute consultants at Deloitte and Howard Altarescu, a partner with Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. They discussed lingering problems holding back a housing recovery and debated where the industry will go next. One of the largest hurdles are the representation and warranty claims both private investors and the government-sponsored enterprises are lobbing toward financial institutions. "This will go on for years," Altarescu said. "There will be more litigation if the government, banks, and private investor groups continue to bring additional suits; there will be a statute of limitations at some point...but the suits that have been brought, which are hundreds of billions of dollars, could go on for many years." The most pressure appears to land on Bank of America (BAC) because of the Countrywide Financial Corp. mortgage portfolio acquired in 2008. In the first quarter, BofA paid out roughly $3 billion to settle representation and warranty claims from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It also settled with the monoline insurer Assured Guaranty (AGO) for $1.6 billion. In the middle of July, rumors circulated of a settlement between BofA and the bond insurer MBIA (MBI). At the end of July, BofA settled with a group of investors led by Bank of New York Mellon (BK) for $8.5 billion over soured MBS. Other investors in the deal and the New York Attorney General challenged the settlement, however. But the representation and warranty claims are also climbing for other large banks. For instance, GSE claims surpassed $1 billion at Ally Financial (GJM) during the second quarter. J.H. Caldwell, a partner at the regulatory and capital markets consulting division within Deloitte, said it is easier to pin down how much exposure the banks have to the GSEs than to private investors, making it difficult to determine how long the troubles will last. "While most of the mortgage institutions have disclosed the estimates for their financial exposure to the GSE claims, not many have disclosed what their estimates for exposure against the private-label litigation might be," Caldwell said. Dennis Kiefer, director of forensic and dispute services at Deloitte, agreed and pointed out it is difficult for private investors to make a claim based on fraud. The courts have yet to decide what the standard for such showing will be. Until that happens, progress for sorting out legacy mortgage issues will remain stalled. "There are a couple of things going on here. First, there's not a lot of history yet; nobody really knows how successful these claims are going to be," Kiefer said. "I think the story is yet to be told." Write to Jon Prior. Follow him on Twitter @JonAPrior