LONDON (AP) — Britain's investment authority says it has begun the privatization of the Lloyds banking group, one of several U. K. banks bailed out at the height of the world financial crisis.

U. K. Financial Investments, the arm of the British government which manages the country's stakes in Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland, said it was selling 6 percent of Lloyds' shares — bringing its stake down from about 38.7 percent to about 32.7 percent. The stake is valued at 3.3 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) at Lloyd's Monday closing price of about 77 pence a share.

Britain injected billions of pounds into its banking sector in 2008, when the world was reeling from the effects of the U. S. real estate crash and an ensuing credit crunch.

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