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WASHINGTON, DC-Will Treasury roll out its previously announced plan to harness the private sector to buy up toxic or legacy assets? In ordinary times that would have been an obvious question–if a government agency announces a forthcoming program, it usually follows through. These are not ordinary times, of course; Treasury has reversed course more than a few times on its plans for economic stabilization.

Lately, for instance, the government has been sending mixed signals about PPIP, the Public Private Investment Program it announced earlier this year. At the start of the month, FDIC said it would rethink selling off such assets. While that did not automatically mean Treasury would follow suit, many in the market could be excused for thinking so.

Testimony before the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel earlier this week, however, suggests that Treasury is moving forward with the plan. A day after he was sworn in as assistant Treasury Secretary for Financial Stability, Herbert Allison told the panel that it was on track. Allison was named CEO of Fannie Mae after the government brought it under conservatorship last September.

“We’ve been working very hard on [PPIP], and I’m confident that very soon we’ll be launching partnerships,” he said in response to questioning. “We made a great deal of progress, and it shouldn’t be long before we announce the–the first stage in that program.”

Of course it remains to be seen how detailed the roll-out of the first stage will be. Treasury provided a broad brush overview of the plan in March–but it was missing key details about interest rates, compensation rules and profit sharing.

Interestingly Allison also attempted to tamp down concerns expressed by Chair Elizabeth Warren that a worse crash was coming for commercial real estate–that is, billions in debt coming due that will be unable to refinance.

Before that conclusion can be reached, he said, it was important to take all of the initiatives–and their ultimate impact–into account. “I think, too early to draw conclusions about how serious the commercial real estate crisis will be over time. We’re not making predictions about that. But we do know it’s very important to restore stability to the financial markets, not just the banks, but to the securitization markets, as a way of–of enabling banks to manage their capital in their asset positions as effectively as they can.”

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