WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department said Monday it has launched an offering of warrants to buy equity in Valley National Bancorp.

The secondary public offering of 2.5 million warrants for common stock of the Wayne, N.J.-based bank is part of Treasury's effort to recoup part of the $700 billion financial-sector bailout.

The department set a minimum bid of $1.70 per warrant. The auction will start Tuesday at 8 a.m. EDT and close at 6:30 p.m. EDT.

Treasury recently announced plans to sell warrants in six banks, including Valley National. The federal government received the warrants in 2008 when it provided support to about 270 banks through Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Auctions have already been conducted for PNC Financial Services Group Inc. and Comerica Inc. The other three banks are Wells Fargo & Co., Sterling Bancshares Inc. and First Financial Bancorp.

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