Well it looked like somebody besides the Real Estate Roundtable took note of the Congressional Oversight Panel’s report on the problems facing the commercial real estate industry.U.S. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd specifically referenced it in a letter to regulators in which he requested action as well as an update on efforts taken to stabilize the sector. The letter went to Fed Chairman Bernanke and as well as other top officials.Dodd, though, may want to look to his own house as well — that is, Congress — as he starts asking these much-needed questions. For example, the report made clear how much smaller community banks are at risk from now underwater or just plain risky commercial real estate loans. But efforts to aid those that will be most impacted, namely small businesses is bogged down in the bickering that has become the legislative process. This logjam includes, ironically, a proposal to help small businesses refinance owner-occupied commercial real estate.But at bottom Dodd is on the right track. Washington for the most part has ignored the impending problems facing commercial real estate. A wave of defaults could easily tip the economy back into recession. If regulators and Congress continue to offer up solutions — TALF being one example even though it is in the process of being phased out — the worst projections might be avoided.

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