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WASHINGTON, DC-The Obama Administration is backing away from published reports that a major overhaul of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is under serious consideration. Yesterday the Washington Post reported that the government was working on a scenario in which the non-performing assets of the GSEs would be spun off into a “bad bank.”

“The story out today is light years ahead of any decision-making process here,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters, according to the Friday edition of the Washington Post. “Safe to say that many senior administration economic officials learned of this proposal sometime this morning at the foot of their driveway.”

The Washington Post has also revealed an email dated Wednesday between the Treasury Department and the White House’s National Economic Council purporting that the bad bank approach has been the subject of policy papers distributed across the administration.

It is difficult to say what is happening behind the scenes, says LaFonte Nesbitt, a partner with Holland & Knight who specializes in multifamily finance. “My sense, based on these public reports, is that nothing specific is on the table yet about what Fannie and Freddie will look like after an overhaul,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

A reform may not necessarily be a bad thing for the multifamily industry, assuming the GSEs’ charter remains the same, he continues. “If we wind up with a leaner, meaner, cleaner Fannie and Freddie, with healthier balance sheets that will be a good thing.”

One fact is clear: the agencies are currently laboring under a balance sheet dripping with red ink. Today Fannie Mae has asked the Treasury Department for a $10.7 billion capital investment after it registered its eight straight quarterly loss, in this case of $14.8 billion. Its cumulative losses over the last two years have now reached $101.6 billion.

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