The Bush administration yesterday approved a trial plan to speed up the savings and loan cleanup by selling sour real estate and other thrift assets in multimillion-dollar blocks.

The Resolution Trust Corp. Oversight Board, headed by Treasury Secretary Nicholas F. Brady, authorized the rescue agency it oversees to sell up to $2 billion in assets in portfolios of several hundred million dollars.

It will put together packages of similar assets such as commercial loans, commercial real estate, apartment properties or apartment loans. By mixing problem real estate with more attractive properties and sour loans with sound loans, it hopes to sell the problem assets faster.

In its first 11 months, the RTC has taken over about 460 failed S&Ls, selling or closing about 210 of them. But, in S&L sales so far, the agency has been stuck with about half of the institutions' assets, usually the delinquent loans and repossessed real estate.

The oversight board is permitting the agency to loan portfolio buyers up to 85 percent of the purchase price for up to five years.

''Ideally, we'd like it to be shorter term ... but we wanted to give {the agency} the flexibility,'' said Felisa Neuringer, an oversight board spokeswoman.

Ed Kane, Ohio State University business professor and thrift expert, said $2 billion is a small amount compared with the huge volume of assets that need to be sold, but he praised the bulk-sales concept.

Selling properties one by one, he said, is ''terribly inefficient.''

''I think the important thing is to get these things out of the hands of the government, which is run for bureaucratic purposes, and put them into the hands of private people who can make decisions for entrepreneurial reasons. That will be best for the taxpayers in the long run,'' Kane said.

Bulk sales have been criticized by others, who label it a fire sale that could depress asset values by flooding the market.

However, Kane said, ''when you have the financial equivalent of a fire, a fire sale is the first thing you do.''

After the trust corporation completes $2 billion in sales, the oversight board will evaluate the program's success and consider extending it.

On a related matter, the oversight board authorized the trust corporation to give some properties away to local governments and nonprofit agencies for use as day-care centers, housing for the homeless or other public purposes.

Properties will be eligible for the program if the agency determines that the cost of holding and selling them exceeds their value.

Another part of the S&L bureaucracy, the Federal Housing Finance Board, announced approval of a $669 million housing program for low-income people.

The program, required by last year's S&L bailout bill, is funded by the 12 regional Federal Home Loan Banks, which in turn are owned by the S&L industry.

The finance board, headed by Housing Secretary Jack Kemp, is spending $47.2 million from the home loan banks in combination with private and foundation funds and other government grants and loans.

The money will pay for 193 projects providing 13,706 housing units in 37 states. Much of it will be used to offer low-interest mortgage loans to low-income home buyers through thrifts and banks.