U.S. Treasury Begins Sale of Preferred Stock in Six Banks

March 26 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Treasury Department said today it is beginning the secondary public offerings of preferred stock in six banks it invested in during the financial crisis through the Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Treasury said the auction was to begin at 8:30 a.m. New York time today and will close on March 28. Bidders will be able to place bids on the stock at any price, and winning bidders will pay the clearing price for the preferred stock plus any accrued and unpaid dividends from Feb. 15.

Treasury has been trying to unwind the TARP program as President Barack Obama gears up for his re-election program.

The auctions are for TARP stock in Banner Corp. of Walla Walla, Washington; First Financial Holdings Inc. of Charleston, South Carolina; MainSource Financial Group Inc. of Greensburg, Indiana; Seacoast Banking Corp. of Florida, in Stuart, Florida; Wilshire Bancorp Inc. of Los Angeles; and WSFS Financial Corp. of Wilmington, Delaware.

To contact the reporters on this story: Cheyenne Hopkins at Chopkins19@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net