The Treasury Department has successfully sold off its shares in seven more community banks as part of its ongoing effort to wind down the four-year-old Troubled Asset Relief Program.

The Treasury began the auction process Monday and said Thursday that it received bids totaling $245 million, or 13% less than its initial $281 million investment in the seven companies. The Treasury did not disclose the names of winning bidders, but at least at two of the bank holding companies, the $2 billion-asset First Defiance Financial (FDEF) in Defiance, Ohio, and the $529 million-asset First Capital Bancorp (FCVA) in Glen Allen, Va., had received regulatory approval to buy back their own shares.

The other banking companies that participated in the latest auction were: the $4.8 billion-asset Taylor Capital (TAYC) in Chicago; the $3 billion-asset Ameris Bancorp (ABCB) in Moultrie, Ga.; the $1.9 billion-asset Farmers Capital (FFKT) in Frankfort, Ky.; the $1.2 billion-asset LNB Bancorp (LNBB) in Lorain, Ohio; and the $913 million-asset United Bancorp (UMBI) in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Treasury Department said that the transactions are expected to close by June 19. At that point, the agency will have auctioned off its preferred shares in 13 community banks, collecting proceeds of more than $600 million in the process. The agency has said that it expects to hold more auctions in the future as it seeks to further recoup its Tarp investments. Roughly 300 of the more than 700 banks and thrifts that received Tarp funds remain in the program.

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